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Full text of "Omni Magazine (June 1991)"


MONEY: 



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THE GREENING 
OF CORPORATIONS 



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/SCI-FIART: 
THE EARIY DAYS 



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HOTTEST 
SCI-FI FLICKS 
FOR SUMMER 



onnrui 



EDITOR IN CHIEF & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIONE 



PRESIDENT: KATHY KEETON 

EDITOR: KEITH FERRELL 

GRAPHICS niHFCnOR FRANK DEVINO 

MANAGING EDITOR: PHIL SCOTT 

ART DIRECTOR- J WAYNE FLINCHUM 



8 

First Word 

By Justin Rattner 

Scientists won't be the 

only ones to 

benefit from a new, 



computer. You'll use it, 

promises this 

Intel Corporation 

executive, to 

improve business and 
explore Mars. 

9 

Omnibus 

The Who's Who 

of contributing authors 

18 

Communications 

Readers' writes 

20 

Earth 

By Beth Howard 
A nineteenth-century law 

that makes 
federal lands a bargain 

buy for 
mining companies is no 

bargain for 
the local environment. 

22 

Space 

By Jerry Grey 
Blastoff: A new family of 

U.S. launch 
vehicles is on the way. 




Tsuneo Sanda's startling futurescape offers 
" much to contemplate. Do we stare through a broken 

glass at a world gone buggy for machines? 
Or have the machines. themselves broken through the 

glass to enter," and perhaps conquer, 

our world? Or just to conquer the Chrysler Building? 

At least the insect has good taste in 

architecture. (Additional art and photo credits, page 84) 



26 

Digs 

By Gregory T. Pope 
You can't always believe 

what you read, 
especially when it's 1,100 

years old and 

commissioned by boastful 

Mayan kings. 

28 

Mind 

By Jeff Goldberg 
The neural processes 

that allow 
animals to distinguish 

smells provide 

clues about memory 

formation. 

30 

Arts 

By A.J. S. Rayl 
Aliens, robots, 

and monsters, oh my: 

The summer's 

science-fiction movies 

promise both 

whimsy and terror. 

32 

Artificial Intelligence 

By Fred Guterl 
The ailing Soviet nuclear 

power industry 
is getting much-needed 

help from the 

most powerful computers 

ever sold to 

the Eastern bloc. 



OMNI [ISSN 0149-87111 
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33 

Continuum 

The inside out 

flower the light bulb that 

glows in the 

dark; the ultimate in 

natural-fiber 
clothing; and more. 

42 

The Business of 
Being Green 

By Melariie Menagh 

Saving the earth is not 

only politically 

correct, it's profitable, too. 

Environmentally 
sound production makes 

good business 

sense, forcing "dirty" firms 

to clean up their 

act to stay competitive, 

50 

One World, One 
Currency 

By Ellen Hoffman 

A single market, many 

currencies; If 

not even a unified Europe 

can commit to 

one monetary system, 

what hope 

is there for a global 

currency? 

58 

A Pocket Full of Miracles 

By Lamont Wood 

Banks, credit card issuers, 

and other 

institutions are going to 

put your money 

in computer chips — literally. 

Smart cards 

carry chips containing 

your charge 

and bank accounts. 




Pictorial: A Brush With 
Genius 

By Forrest J. Ackerman 

The premier 

science-fiction illustrator 

of his day, 

Frank R. Paul created 

the very look 

of science-fiction art. Like 

the best of the 

fiction that it brought to 

visual life, 

his work is timeless. 



Fiction: Johnny Come 

Home 

By Pat Cadigan 

In turn-ot-t he-century 

Russia, a 
refuge for Americans 

fleeing their 

repressive country, a 

psychic looks 

for her brother, who has 



76 



Interview 

By Anthony Liversidge 

Like the town 

marshals in classic 

westerns, 
economist-for-hire 

Jeffrey Sachs 

faces down the bad 

guy — inflation — 

and wins. 

81 

Antimatter 

Amnesiac aliens; Norse 

gods in Mexico; 

pygmy elephants in 

Africa; and 
voices in your head. 

106 

Video Games 

By Bob Lindstrom 

Keep self- 

destructive lemmings 

alive, and give 

kids the nonviolent 

Mixed-Up 

Mother Goose game. 

no 

Games 

By Scot Morris 

Computers 

have almost mastered 

chess, 

but they're novices at 

the- ancient, 

complex game called Go. 

112 

Last Word 

By Jerry Benson 

Beware 
of the big bucks! 

Money 
is harmful to your 

health. 



10 

The Home Office of 2020 

Work will be a breeze by the time two decades oi the next 

century has passed. Our special section 

speculates about the ultimate home office and future 

reading habits. And Nobel laureate Arno Penzias 

follows Rachel, a college student, as she works with a 

robot and writes her thesis at the bus stop. 



FIRST WJORD 



TOTAL RECALL: 

Developments in supercomputing promise to change 

the life-style of Americans at home and at work 



Justin Rattner, 

founder 

and director of 

technology 

for Intel's 

Supercomputer 

Systems 

Division, Is the 

principal 

Investigator for 

the Delta 

Touchstone 

project 




How do you experiment on a thun- 
derstorm? How do you decipher 
a genetic code with 3 billion com- 
ponents? How do you test the sta- 
bility of a supersonic aircraft? 

The answer: You use a comput- 
er. Relying on the fastest comput- 
ers on the planet, scientists can 
create simulations of nature and 
study everything from the collision 
of galaxies to the behavior of sub- 
atomic particles. 

But while the need for super- 
fast computers has never been 
greater, the conventional path to 
high-speed computing has 
reached a dead end. The sys- 
tems that dominated supercom- 
puting in the Eighties have hit the 
brick walls of physics and econom- 
ics, making even small perform- 
ance improvements very difficult 
and expensive. 

To meet the demand for faster 
systems, computer designers and 
physical scientists have turned to 
microprocessors. Silicon technol- 
ogy has already turned 50 million 
of us into personal computer us- 
ers and turned business comput- 
ing on its ear — all in less than a 
decade. Now, that same technol- 
ogy promises a similar impact on 
high-performance computing. 

By combining the power of hun- 
dreds of microprocessors working 
in parallel, Intel Corporation, in co- 



operation with the U.S. Defense 
Advanced Research Projects 
Agency, has developed the Del- 
ta Touchstone system. Delta is 
the world's fastest computer, ca- 
pable of processing 32 gigaflops 
(billion operations per second), 
ten times the power of the fastest 
traditional super-computer. 

To take advantage of Delta's 
enormous power, 14 prominent 
U.S. research institutions, includ- 
ing NASA, the National Science 
Foundation, and the California In- 
stitute of Technology, have 
formed the Concurrent Supercom- 
puting Consortium. Sharing the 
system via a nationwide network, 
scientists will conduct computa- 
tional experiments on many of 
what the U.S. High Performance 
Computing and Communications 
Program has identified as the 
"Twenty Grand Challenges" of 
science. Until now, scientists 
have lacked the computing pow- 
er to address these problems, 
which include such demanding sci- 
entific and computational challeng- 
es as global climate modeling. 

For scientists, a computer 
that's ten times faster than current 
systems is like a telescope or mi- 
croscope that's ten times more 
powerful — it allows them to see 
more. With a faster computer, sci- 
entists can build more detailed 
models and conduct more elab- 
orate experiments. 

While Delta's immediate users 
will be scientists, the system's im- 
pact will eventually reach us all. 
Progress in structural biology and 
human genome research will ad- 
vance our ability to prevent and 
treat diseases. Global climate mod- 
els will give us more complete in- 
formation on the greenhouse ef- 
fect. And the ability to identify ob- 
jects in outer space will enrich our 
understanding of our own planet 
■ and the nature of the universe. 

In addition to its importance for 
science, Delta highlights the 
trend that will dominate comput- 
ing throughout the Nineties and 



beyond: using microprocessors 
as the building blocks for the full 
spectrum of computing solutions. 

At all levels of computing, pow- 
erful microprocessors, working 
alone or in parallel, will mean fast- 
er computers offering an enriched 
range of features. Hand-held, pen- 
based computers will bring mil- jf 
lions more of us into the comput- 
er age— serving as day planners, 
road atlases, cellular video 
phones, and general information 
centers rolled into one. 

Desktop personal computers 
will continue as potent systems in 
their own right but will also serve 
as gateways to supercomputers 
for tasks requiring massive com- 
putational power. You might, for 
example, ask a supercomputer to 
churn through a set of "what-if" 
scenarios on complex financial 
packages so that you and your 
stockbroker can check out the re- 
sults on your personal computer. 

Delta-style systems will take us 
even a step further to teraflop com- 
puting (a trillion operations per sec- 
ond) within the next five years. 
What this means for the average 
user is that Delta-level perform- 
ance could arrive on the desktop 
and in the home by the turn of the 
century. At work, your personal 
computer could track multiple busi- 
ness factors — including market 
conditions, demographics, buy- 
ing patterns, and more. At home, 
you could take your family on a 
trip to Mars without ever leaving 
your living room. Today the cal- 
culations to visualize the surface 
of Mars require numerous hours 
even for a computer as powerful 
as the current Delta system with 
gigaflop computing. But with the 
development of teraflop comput- 
ing, instead of watching a video 
on Saturday night, you'll be able 
to rent the database of Mars, pop 
it into your high-definition informa- 
tion/entertainment center, put on 
your virtual reality headset and pi- 
lot your family as you skim over 
the red planet. DO 



onnrueus 



ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T GREEN: 

Our writers work hard for-the money,, even when 

they have prior engagements 



Some save it. Some 
spend it. Others think of 
it as the true meaning of 
life. And we all want it. But con- 
trary to popular song, money 
does not make the world go 
'round — at least not from a scien- 
tific perspective. In fact, when you 
look back on its evolution and the 
articles used to represent it — 
salt, shells, shovels, knives, tobac- 
co, and now plastic — money and 
how it gets that way seems arbi- 
trary in the extreme. 

Travel writer Ellen Hoffman 
("One World, One Currency," 
e 50) has accumulated curren- 



Conlributors, 

clockwise 

from bottom: 

Melanie Menagh, 

Jeff Goldberg, 

Pat Cadigan, 

Lamont Wood, 

and Greg Pope. 




cy from 50 countries on six conti- 
nents and keeps them neatly 
wrapped in plastic and stored in 
a box. "I don't collect coins," she 
says. "It's just one of those 
things that happens — I'm running 
to catch my flight and haven't had 
the time to convert whatever is in 
my pocket." Her most interesting 
souvenir: a Polish zloty note that 
is now worthless as capital on the 
world market. A former reporter 
for The Washington Post and 
the author of How To Plan A Suc- 
cestul Trip (Farragut Press, 1988), 
Hoffman is currently a contrib- 
uting editor at Frequent Flyer 
magazine. 

Are corporations that embrace 
"green" business practices just 
jumping on the environmental 
bandwagon to aid product sales? 
Do their motives really matter as 
long as they're on the road to em- 
erald cities? "Any movement in 
that direction is fine," says 
Melanie Menagh {"The Business 




er pressure is 
paying off." 

While Lamont Wood ("A Pock- 
et Full of Miracles," page 58) was 
writing his story on the electronic 
future of money, he was also learn- 
ing how to be a new parent of 
twin boys. "I operated on little 
sleep, literally running on empty," 
Wood says. "When I finished the 
stony and turned it in, I couldn't re- 
member what I had written." 
Wood has written for Byte maga- 
zine and The Chicago Tribune — 
under less stressful circumstanc- 
es, we hope. 

A former economist himself, An- 
thony Liversidge (Interview, 
page 76) caught up with econo- 
mist Jeffrey Sachs at the Council 



of Foreign Relations meeting in 
New York. "He's passionate 
about his work, and it pays off," 
says Liversidge, who has written 
for The Economist. 

Jeff Goldberg (Mind, page 28) 
sniffed out his story in a so- 
called perfume factory where com- 
puters are storing scent memo- 
ries, And the computers are do- 
ing better than Goldberg. "I don't 
recall what scents were prevalent 
when I was in the lab, but I think 
they were sweet," Goldberg 
says. Well, at least they weren't of- 
fensive. Goldberg is the author of 
Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery 
(Bantam). 

With a new gold rush threaten- 
ing wild lands, Omni associate 
editor Beth Howard (Earth, page 
20) believes we must reconcile 
our desire for luxuries with our 
environmental principles, which, 
she admits, is easier said than 
done. "When my fiance gave me 
a gold-and-diamond engagement 
ring, I paused for a moment, but 
only briefly," says Howard. "And 
I kept the ring." 

Perhaps the level of political so- 
phistication has increased over 
time, but as the recent interpre- 
tation of Mayan petro glyphs in- 
dicates, political propaganda 
seems to be timeless. Greg Pope 
(Digs, page 26) has always had 
an intellectual interest in Aztec 
and Mayan cultures even though 
he's never set foot in Mexico. "If 
I could have been born a Mayan. 
I would have been a scribe," 
says Pope, a regular contributor 
to Popular Mechanics. "Scribes 
were too important to be slain in 
human sacrifices." 

A regular Omni contributor, sci- 
ence-fiction author Pat Cadigan 
("Johnny Come Home," page 70) 
lives in Kansas. Her most recent 
books are Patterns (Ursus 
Press), a collection of short sto- 
ries, and Synners (Bantam). "The 
Power and the Passion" (Omni, 
March 1990) was recently nomi- 
nated for a Nebula Award. DO 




Information technology, like all technolo- 
gies, ultimately hits home — in more ways 
than one. In the months to come OmniwW 
look at some of the likely results of ad- 
vances in information technology as they 
relate to our home lives. Being at home, 
away from the office, does not necessari- 
ly mean being away from work. As we point- 
ed out this past April, we have entered the 
age of "The Constant Office," with work — 
and the information upon which that 
works rests — available to us around the 
clock, and around the world. 

By way of looking from time to time at 
the nature and consequences of the office 
revolution currently taking place, we're 
launching a new series: Home Office 2020. 
As always with Omni, our concern is with 
the consequences of technology, its im- 
pact, benefits, and problems. We won't be 
dealing here with hands-on looks at soft- 
ware and hardware; our sister publication, 
Compute, does that better than anyone. 

What we'are going to look at is the na- 
ture of the world we are creating with ever 
smarter, ever faster, ever more capable ma- 
chines. And we're going to look at it in a 
way different from anyone else. Home Of- 
fice 2020 is intended to be an imaginative 
forum, a place of speculation and debate. 
There will be fiction here, as well as fore- 
casts, and even the occasional polemic. 
An exciting place. 

To inaugurate the Home Office 2020 se- 
ries, we're honored to have a short story 
by Arno Penzias. Nobel prize-winner, di- 
rector of research at Bell Labs, Penzias is 
also the author of Ideas and Information, 
one of the key books of the information rev- 
olution. In his piece this month, titled sim- 
ply "2020," Penzias reminds us that the 
technology we bring home to automate 
work will ultimately exert an effect on 




ILLUSTRATIONS BY 
ETIENNE DELESSERT 

THE NEW LABOR 

MOVEMENT: 

THE MOVEMENT BE 

LABOR FHOM 

YOUR OFFICE TO 

ANYWHERE 



home education as well. Penzias's vision 
is a lovely and gentle one. Technology, he 
argues here, as in his book, can be liber- 
ating. We have the tools at hand to ac- 
complish a renewal of the art of learning, 
which is to say the art of asking questions 
and making connections, It is a pleasure 
to join a great scientist on just such a vi- 
sionary voyage of discovery. 

We're also interested in more close-up 
views of specific technologies. To that end 
we've asked Gregg Keizer, an Omni con- 
tributing editor and one of the Information 
Age's leading young writers, to gaze for- 
ward 30 years or so, and focus specifical- 
ly on portable information technology and 
desktop publishing. 

[f you think those two arenas have 
seen a lot of change in the past decade, 
wait until you see what's ahead. What's 
ahead for Home Office 2020? We'll look at 
programs that can seek out the informa- 
tion you want, assemble it for you in the 
format you prefer, and do it all globally, 
while you're doing something else. Inter- 
face design will also come under our scru- 
tiny. Is the keyboard really the best way 
to communicate with our smart machines? 
What are the challenges and opportunities 
offered by voice-driven computers, by hand- 
written interfaces, by technologies barely 
on today's drawing boards? We'll look as 
well at the sort of computer power that 
will be available to individuals 30 years 
from now. And more. 

Does this mean Omni is becoming a com- 
puter magazine? My answer is an emphat- 
ic no. There's more to the future than com- 
puters, exciting though they may be. But 
computers and information technology are 
exerting a larger and larger effect on our 
world, and our world is, after all, Omni's 
subject matter.— KEITH FERRELL 



Arno Penzias, as one might expect from a 
man whose accomplishments include a No- 
bel prize, has interesting insights into the 
nature of the information revolution. Fortu- 
nately for us, he's distilled those insights 
into a remarkable— and remarkably read- 
able—book called Ideas and Information. 
Wow available in paperback, and in edi- 
tions around the world, Penzias's book pro- 
vides an enticing look at the shape a new, 
information-oriented world might assume. 

This is no starry-eyed bundle of opti- 
mism. Penzias is all too aware of the prob- 
lems and challenges computers can gen- 
erate, even as they are introduced by 
their champions as the solution to all prob- 
lems. Rather, in clear and thoughtful 
prose, Penzias walks the reader through 
the very crucial difference between infor- 
mation, and its more important relative, 
idea. The distinction is not a simple, one, 
but understanding it is critical to the suc- 
cessful integration of computer technology 
into our lives. 

Better than most writers, Penzias 
builds his arguments carefully, buoying 
them with examples from his own life and 
work. Since his work includes being direc- 
tor of research at Bell Laborato- 
ries, on the very front lines of 
the Information Age, Pen- 
zias's perspective is well 
grounded in technological re- 
alities, even as his imagina- 
tion soars toward the future. 

"2020" is worthwhile read- i 
ing for anyone interested in 
the nature of the machines 
that are transforming our 
world. — Keith Ferreli 

"What a way to celebrate my 
twentieth birthday!" Rach- 
el blinked hard a cou- 
ple of times to re- 
lieve her tired 
eyes, and 
squeezed the 
trigger of her la- 
ser pistol. In re- 
sponse, a ti- 
ny dot of red 
light sparkled on the 
huge electric generator 
opposite her. A slight mo- 
tion of her wrist swung 



BV AflNO PENZIAS 

CAN IT BE 

THAT FOR BUB 

INTREPID 

VBUNG HEROINE IN 

TBE BIB 

APPLE BE 2B2B, 

LIFE 

MEANS MUCH MORE 

THAN GIRL 

INTERFACES BBV, 

GIBL 
LBSES BBY, GIBL 

INTERFACES 
RBY BACK AGAIN? 




the spot around a squarish opening. 

"Now, replace the cover plate over that 
section," she told the robot. 

"Okay, Rachel, you got it. I'll put the cov- 
er plate on the opening you marked with 
your laser beam. I'll get back to you as 
soon as I'm done." 

They had been at this for more than 
four hours, and the robot's unflagging 
enthusiasm was beginning to grate on 
her nerves, 

Con Edison's robotic voice response 
units lacked some of the amenities of new- 
er models. No automatic mood adjustment, 
for one. 

Rachel moved to -the control console 
and called up the appropriate menu. The 
voice response selection she had made ear- 
lier popped up on the screen: "Male, 
young adult, cheerful." 

Time for a change. She replaced "cheer- 
ful" with "subdued." 

"How much longer will the cover replace- 
ment take?" she asked. 

"Approximately three minutes." 
Much better, 

"Next, check all the vacuum seals, and 
get ready to refuel the cryogenics." 
"Acknowledged, Rachel. According to 
my records, my present 
task will complete the reas- 
sembly of this generator, so 
I will next be able to initiate 
the vacuum check and re- 
II procedures. These tasks 
should take a total of twenty- 
seven minutes. I will notify 
you if my estimate chang- 
es by more than ten per- 
cent, Rachel." 

With the robot busily engaged, 

Rachel switched off the rock 

video she had been play- 

Jing as back- 
ground music 
and turned her 
attention back to 
dictating an ac- 
ount of the morn- 
's work into the 
enance log. "Jan- 
2020; 3:37 A.M." 
I she began, glancing down at the 
I screen to check the exact time. 
Fortunately, the coffee was still hot, 

PAGE S3 



HOME OFFICE: 2020 



OFFICE ON YOUR WRIST 



You are your office. When you hear that 
pitch, you'll know the future has arrived. 

Twenty-nine years from now you may 
still be working, but you won't be chained 
to a 10- by 12-foot office in a tower deep 
downtown. You'll be free to work where you 
want, at least part of the time, because 
where you are is where your work is. 

An NEC, Tandy, or Matsushita wristband 
contains the most crucial elements of 
2020's portable office. Embedded within 
the one-and-a-half-inch-wide band is a pos- 
itional sensor by which AT&T's navigation- 
al network keeps track of you. Sensors con- 
stantly read data from the navigational satel- 
lites, updating your communication and da- 
ta services. After all, if they don't know 
where you are, they can't call you. 

Your phone and phone book are on 
your wrist, too. Like much in your home of- 
fice repertory, the cellular phone is Lillipu- 
tian and voice controlled. The latter 
makes possible the former, for without the 
need for buttons to push, the phone is sim- 
ply a thin speaker in the wristband. Need 
a number? Tell the phone book to look it 
up for you: "Number, Brink, E-, Cypress 
Street, Richardson, Texas." Your wrist- 
band dials for you, compiete with 
the coded entry to connect to the 
least expensive service from your 
current location. 

And voice mail hits your 
wrist first. Messages are re- 
layed to your region, then to 
you, aimed by the navnet, for 
final storage in the nonvolatile 
memory that's woven into the 
band's fabric. "Play messages' 
brings forth a stream of digitized 
voices reminding you about a din- 
ner date, offering information, 
or- asking that you 
call back. 

The Sony glass- 
es don't just shade 
your eyes from the 
sun. They also pro- : 
ject the words, fig- 
ures, and pictures 
from the Panasonic 
pocket PC you've 
just flipped open. No 
keyboard, though. 
Your office PC has 
one — it's still the best 



BY BRESG KEiZER 
YOU'LL 

BE ABLE TO TAKE IT 

WITH YOU 

IN THE F0T0BE- 

YOOB JBB, 
THAT IB. WHILE 

WDBK 
MAY NEVER BE A 

GBLB 

BRACELET, IT CO0L0 

WELL HAVE 

A SILVER LINING 




way to write— but here on the patio, your 
work is a bit lighter. 

Hardly bigger than your palm and no 
thicker than two-credit cards, the pocket 
PC unfolds to reveal a black surface. 
Touch one of the six symbols arranged 
along an edge, and icons appear on the 
PC. Each icon represents a document, a 
change in format, or another software com- 
mand. Press one of the document icons. 
Look up. You see a full-size letter as if it 
were hovering two feet in front of your 
eyes. Press another icon for voice securi- 
ty — it's a bit noisy here on the patio, and 
you don't want the pocket PC inserting 
stray sounds in the letter — then begin dic- 
tating. As you talk, characters form on the 
letter. You edit and revise the same way. 
Tapping icons on the PC changes the let- 
ter's appearance or stores it in memory. 

When you're through, you press another 
icon, one that looks like an envelope 
(some symbols never change, even 
though the UPS/Postal Service delivers on- 
ly parcels now) to send the letter. As you 
snap shut the PC, your phone dials MCI 
Mail and zaps the letter electronically to its 
destination. No wires from PC to phone, 
nor from shades to PC. Signals travel by 
radio from one component to another. 
- At night you plug two leads into 

^^■fc* an outlet. One goes to the wrist- 
■» band, another to the PC. In 60 min- 
v^^^H^ utes their batteries are re- 
^»0^ charged, good for another six 
^Hj ^H^fr hours of work. 
cjH ^Ej* You can work in any room. 
^^M Bjfiu You can work from an airliner 

m/H IVHfe'to the bullet train. You can 
W work anywhere. Communica- 
., tions networks blanket the 
, world; data services, 
electronic mail, and 
"', cellular phones 
I connect you to 
/ your office at the 
>'>-' speed of light. You 
don't work away from the 
.- office every day, of course. 
.'.-- ' Virtual conferencing doesn't re- 
®^place that warm handshake, that 
conversation about your kids, that fear 
when you're called on the carpet over 
deadlines and budgets. And you'll still trav- 
el from time to time. But you'll take your 
office with you. DO 



r 



HOME OFFICE: 2020 



GUTENBERC 



You'll be an editor, a publisher, and a print- 
er. By 2020, you'll build newspapers and 
magazines in your home, and print out 
books written by the world's best writers. 

For 30 years, prophets have divined pa- 
perless magazines, electronic newspa- 
pers, and literature disseminated without 
bookstores. They were right — just prema- 
ture. During the next three decades, you'll 
find the tools thai let you become printer 
and publisher with complete control over 
what you read and when you read it. 

Your world oi 2020 won't be entirely with- 
out paper, but it will be a place where you 
run the presses. You'll likely have a 
choice: Pick up the put-together paper on 
your doorstep, or make your own. Assem- 
bling a personal morning edition won't be 
hard. From your home office PC you ac- 
cess your favorite news E-services, includ- 
ing your local daily, the nearest metro serv- 
ice, a national wire, and one of the foreign 
bureaus. You choose stories and accom- 
panying photos by telling the services to 
clip pieces to your specifications. You 
have no interest in reading about crime or 
schools or weather today, so you block 
those out. Finance and soccer sports 
news are all you want, The paper that 
comes out of your PC's printer may be 
small, but it's exactly what you want. 

Or you can subscribe to one of the thou- 
sands of custom compilations already avail- 
able on the data services, Since the Su- 
preme Court's recognition in 2007 of an 
individual's right to information access, 
amateur newshounds have flocked to 
resell their papers. 
Want sports only, 
with an emphasis 
on local high- 
school football? 
How about a pa- 
per with extensive 
updates from ev- 
ery capital city 
of the world? 
Or a science- 
heavy daily m 
that also 
dotes on com- 
ic strips, book 
reviews, and ce- 
lebrity gossip? 

You can make magazines in much the 
same way. Most publications put an elec- 



BY GREGG KEIZER 

DO YOU 
REALLY LOVE THE 
SPORTS PAGE, 

8DT HATE 
THE BUSINESS 

SECTION? 

NEVER FEAR: Y00 

WILL SOON 

GET ONLY THE 

SECTIONS 
THAT YOD WANT 

THROUGH 
YOUR HOME PC 




tronic ghost of themselves on the data ser- 
vices for reading, but you can clip articles 
from several, then combine them under 
one cover. Maybe you enjoy a favorite news- 
magazine, but it doesn't contain enough 
breaking science news for your taste. It 
doesn't take much to beef up its coverage. 
All this comes over telephone and data 
lines into your home office PC. The PC cap- 
tures the words and pictures, then, based 
on designs you've picked in the past, as- 
sembles a newspaper or magazine and 
prints it for you. 

If you don't have a home PC, you can 
still get your news the high-tech way by turn- 
ing on the home fax. National papers like 
The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour- 
nal, and USA Today were first to adopt 
this delivery system; but some local dai- 
lies are active now, too. Top national, in- 
ternational, sports, finance, and govern- 
ment stories curl out of the fax machine at 
any time of the day; You can pull a five- 
page paper from the machine seconds be- 
fore you leave for w'ork, then browse 
through it on the trip into the city. 

You can also read a book on your 
home PC, ask your portable PC to read it 
to you, or print it out. The printer can pro- 
duce passable paperback- 
like editions on inexpensive 
paper, bound by a plastic cov- 
er. Everyone in the twenty-first 
century can claim to be a 
Gutenberg disciple. The turn 
of the millennium hasn'l made 
you a news reporter, nor has it 
made you a maga- 
zine or book writer, 
but it has turned you in- 
to a compiler and 
publisher of informa- 
tion. Like 24-hour vid- 
eo news, instant home 
publishing lets you de- 
cide when you're going 
to get your facts. 
What's more, it lets you 
choose exactly what 
you'll get from newspa- 
pers, magazines, and 
books. You've got com- 
plete control over time 
and content. Your free- 
dom of the press knows 
few bounds. DO 




cannnnuruicATiorus 



READERS' WRITES: 

It's not safe on Earth or the moon, so why not 

go to Mars for a gay ol' time 



Unsuccessful Category 

I hope no one else thinks like Steven 
Jas [Mind, March 1991], who 

states that "the [success] syndrome is 
like AIDS." Suffering from aloneness, 
adventure seeking, and adultery hard- 
ly puts Donald Trump and other victims 
of success in the same category as peo- 
ple living with AIDS. And in his pitiful at- 
tempt to draw attention to his pet con- 
Berglas denigrates the memory of 
the thousands of people who have 
died from AIDS-related diseases. 

John Kertz 
Miami 

Space for Everyone 
- On behalf of the Gay & Lesbian Alli- 
ance Against Defamation (GLAAD), I 
would like to add to the portrait of Mi- 
chael Collins presented in your March 
We respect Collins as a forward 
thinker and as an authority in his field. 
However, in his recent book Mission to 
Mars he demonstrates that he does not 
apply his usual sound reasoning to is- 
sues involving lesbians and gays. On 
page 91, he writes that although there 
will be some "highly qualified homosex- 
ual candidates," he would not choose 
them for the first trip to .the red planet. 
In the tight quarters of a spaceship, he 
asserts, some interpersonal problems 
might arise, and "introducing an ele- 
ment of homosexuality could only 
make matters worse." We have entered 
negotiations with Mr. Collins to redress 
this offensive reference. Hopefully, he 
will realize that discrimination based on 
any innate characteristic, whether it is 
gender, race, or sexual orientation, is 
a practice best left in the past — and on 
Earth. 

Scott Sherman 
New York City 

Moon Lampoon 

When I read "Moonstruck" [Continu- 
um] in your March issue, I wondered 
I'd picked up a copy of National Lam- 
poon by mistake. What a wonderfully sa- 
tirical piece. At least I hope mathemati 
cian Alexander Abian realizes that de- 
stroying the moon would cause ecolog^ 
ical and geological disasters of unprec- 
proportions. Perhaps it would 



be best if he remained confined to his 
classroom. 

Kim L. Neidigh 
San Antonio 

Shake, Rattle, and Roll 

I enjoyed your interview with seismolo- 
gist Allan Lindh [March 1991], Being a 
lifelong resident of the San Francisco 
Bay Area, I feel it is a shame that peo- 
ple don't act on the precautionary nec- 
essary steps to prepare for possible 
earthquake damage. When it does hit, 
most of us will fall victim to collapsing 
houses and scant supplies due mainly 
to laziness. Let's hope people wake up 
before it is too late. 

Kerry Guadagnin 
San Jose, CA 

Computer Maestro? 

As a hyperinstrument builder I was in- 
terested in the article "Bach to the Fu- 
ture" [March 1991], But you don't have 
to wait for virtual reality or spend 
$20,000 on an MX hyperglove to play 
hypermusic. A [lumber of software pro- 
grams have been available for several 
years that can create cascading, frac- 
tal, inhumanly fast ribbons of transpos- 
ing arpeggios with the slightest motion 
of the mouse. The ones I know of are 
Hyperchord, M, Music Mouse, and 
Pixound. These are readily available for 
less than §200. We should expect a hy- 
pervirtuoso to soon' blow us all away. 
Peter McClard 
New York City 

Cleaning the Table 

It was upsetting to read the mislead- 
ing headline in your table of contents 
[Antimatter, February 1991]: "Budd 
Hopkins versus mental health profession- 
als." I am no more opposed to psycho- 
therapy as a profession than Ralph Nad- 
er is opposed to the automobile as a 
means of transportation. I've brought 
more psychotherapists into UFO abduc- 
tion research than anyone. But like Nad- 
er, I know from bitter experience that 
some mental health professionals are un- 
safe at any speed and, like certain au- 
tomobiles, outrageously overpriced. 

Budo Hopkins 
New York City DO 




American Classics 

The '50s gave birth to a wide range of classics, from 
tail fins to rock & roll. One of the design triumphs 
of the period was the Hamilton Ventura, hailed 
as a work of art as well as a technological 
breakthrough when it was introduced in 
1957 as the world's first electric watch. 

Today's Ventura, an exquisitely crafted 
re-creation of the original, has been updated 
with a state-of-the-art quartz movement. 

Hamilton. Designing American classics 
for nearly 100 years. 





cs^& 



Hamilton 

Since 1892 U.S.A. 



Nordstrom 



EARTH 



THE GREAT TERRAIN ROBBERY: 
An outdated law is wreaking 
havoc on the Western wilderness 



Fool's gold: 

You've got to 

hand it to 

the government 

for Its 

archaic mining 

policies. 



f^k modern-day gold rush 
Mmmktums thousands of 
# m acres of Nevada wild 
land into wasteland. A 160-acre 
scenic plot near Keystone, Col- 
orado, purchased from the gov- 
ernment for $400, later sells for $1 
million. A family-owned sand min- 
ing company buys a 780-acre 
block of land within the Oregon 
Dunes National Recreation Area 
for $1,900. 

In this era of new ecological 
awareness such acts are never- 
theless perfectly legitimate, 
thanks to an archaic mining law 
originally designed to help settle 
the American West. Under the so- 
called 1872 Mining Law, virtually 
unchanged since it was signed 
by President Ulysses S. Grant, 
mining concerns can stake claim 
to, and even purchase, federal 
lands at prices as low as S2.50 an 

acre — as long as 

they can prove 
that the mineral 
find will be a prof- 
itable one. 

With land open 
to exploration at 
dirt-cheap prices, 
mining compa- 
nies have flocked 
to Western states 
in the last decade 
with a zeal reminis- 
cent of the fever- 
ish gold diggers 
of a century ago. 
The gold mining 
industry has been 
the primary bene- 
ficiary of this environmental loop- 
hole — even as it comes up with 
more toxic technologies to extract 
the mineral. And a new process, 
cyanide heap leach mining, in 
which cyanide dissolves and re- 
moves gold from ore, allows min- 
ers to economically recover wide- 
ly dispersed deposits. "With the 
technology and the price of gold, 
it is economically advantageous 
to go after extremely low-grade 
ore deposits," says David Albers- 



worth, public lands director of the 
National Wildlife Federation. 

Under the best of circumstan- 
ces, of course, mining extracts an 
environmental toll along with the 
precious metals. In Nevada, the 
center of the gold frenzy, gaping 
holes remain where miners once 
churned up mammoth chunks of 
earth. The cyanide used in the 
gold mining ends up in large, 
open ponds, where it kills wildlife 
and pollutes streams. 

Opponents of the 1872 Mining 
Law have been increasingly criti- 
cal of the Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment (BLM), which oversees the 
millions of federal acres that min- 
ing companies are gobbling up. 
The BLM, they argue, has been 
lax in regulating mining. "The 
BLM claims it can increase envi- 
ronmental protection against hard- 
rock mining, but it has never 




shown any willingness to do so," 
Albersworth says. 

According to BLM spokesman 
Mike Ratliff, the agency has recent- 
ly issued policies requiring safe- 
guards for using cyanide and rec- 
lamation oi the land. 

Beyond the ecological pitfalls 
. of the mining process itself, envi- 
ronmentalists lament the irrevoca- 
ble loss of virgin territory. Accord- 
ing to a recent Government Ac- 
counting Office (GAO) report, 



since 1978, citizens and private 
companies have snatched about 
157,000 acres of public land — 
much of it prized wilderness ter- 
rain — for a nominal fee. These in- 
clude 1,700 acres of New Mexi- 
co forest above the Jemez River, 
recently designated by Congress 
as "a Wild and Scenic River." The 
law has also led to the acquisition 
of public lands for vacation prop- 
erties and even, in one case, a 
waste dump. 

Spurred by national conserva- 
tion groups, Congress is consid- 
ering bills to reform the law. Envi- 
ronmentalists have asked the gov- 
ernment to reconsider the carte 
blanche given to mining compa- 
nies and to require restoration of 
abandoned mine sites. 

Not surprisingly, the mining in- 
dustry wants to preserve its privi- 
leges, especially the principle 
of self-initiation, 
which permits com- 
panies to simply 
stake a claim on a 
parcel of public 
land, instead of 
submitting compet- 
itive bids to ac- 
quire it. 

The industry al- 
so aims to get the 
public on its side. 
"The biggest chal- 
lenge is convinc- 
ing people they 
need mining, and 
to educate them 
to what the mining 
industry means as 
far as life-styles and keeping us 
free from foreign dependency," 
says Robbin Lee of Colorado- 
based Atlas Precious Metals, 
which has several Western gold 
mines. "Most people say, 1 want 
my gold jewelry, but I don't want 
you mining in my backyard.'" 

Indeed, in the end the people 
will have to decide how much of 
the nation's backyard they are will- 
ing to sacrifice for a gold neck- 
lace.— Beth Howard DO 



WE HAVE LIFTOFF: 

A new modular launch system promises to make 

getting into orbit cheaper and safer 



The next U.S. 
launch sys- 
tem, due at the 
turn of the 
century, will fea- 
ture a core 



Perhaps someday there 
will be a service compa- 
rable to Federal Express 
or United Parcel Service that 

sends items not across the coun- 
try but into space, reliably and at 
a reasonable price. Meanwhile, 
with space launches of all types 
becoming more commonplace, to- 
day's space shuttles and expend- 
able launch vehicles (ELVs) are 
still prohibitively expensive and 
have an uncomfortably high rate 
of failure. These shortcomings are 



or commercial — can justify the 
high up-front investment for a new 
launch system. 

A few months ago, however, 
the necessary pieces to revamp 
the country's launch system be- 
gan to fall into place. First the Na- 
tional Space Council called for 
combining all U.S. space launch 
requirements. Then the Advisory 
Committee on the Future of the 
U.S. Space Program, appointed 
by President Bush, urged the de- 
velopment of a new launch sys- 




vehicle, boosters 

with reusable 

engines for heavy 

payloads, and 

cargo capsules of 



among the chief impediments to 
U.S. space development. 

Based on decades-old technol- 
ogy, the current vehicles were de- 
signed with no safety margin: 
They must operate at the absolute 
limit of performance to haul their 
heaviest payloads into orbit. This 
makes for launch costs of $4,000 
to more than $10,000 per pound 
of payload to low Earth orbit, with 
failure rates of about 5 percent for 
ELVs and 1 to 3 percent for the 
post-Challenger shuttle, But the 
needs of no single segment of the 
space community— military, civil, 



tern. At the same time the Air 
Force and NASA began to jointly 
develop a vehicle both could use. 
Vice President Quayle and bud- 
get director Richard Darman grant- 
ed approval in January to pro- 
ceed further. 

Actually, to meet the payload 
needs of its different users, the 
new launcher will be not just a sin- 
gle vehicle but a modular family, 
much like the European Ariane 4. 
Its core will probably include at 
least four oxygen-hydrogen rock- 
et engines, each about 30 per- 
cent more powerful than each of 



the shuttle's three main engines, 
as well as a large propellant tank 
similar to the shuttle's and a vari- 
ety of payload capsules. It will 
eventually replace the shuttle to 
transport human crews. 

For heavy payloads, solid-pro- 
pellant boosters like the shuttle's 
will be added to the core; these 
will eventually be replaced by 
boosters powered by the same liq- 
uid-propellant engines as the 
core vehicle, with tanks so simi- 
lar to the core's they can be built 
using the same tooling. Various 
combinations of the core and 
boosters will be able to handle pay- 
loads ranging from approximate- 
ly 50,000 pounds to more than 
200,000 pounds. 

The real key to the new vehicle 
program is its approach to both 
design and operations, The new 
launcher will be stronger and heav- 
ier than absolutely necessary so 
that its maximum payload will not 
stress the craft to its design lim- 
its. Its booster engines will be re- 
covered and reused. Initially, the 
core's engines will be expend- 
able, but they, too, will be reused 
when enough flights are made to 
justify the recovery cost. 

Also, because most rocket-pow- 
ered launcher. failures are propul- 
sion related, the new vehicle will 
be designed so that, like a com- 
mercial airplane, it can still func- 
tion if an engine fails during 
flight. Finally, vehicle assembly, 
checkout, and ground operations 
will be highly automated to elimi- 
nate the expensive "standing ar- 
my" needed to maintain and 
launch the current vehicles. 

The vehicle's designers are aim- 
ing for an average launch cost of 
§500 per pound to low orbit and 
a failure rate of 1 percent. If all 
goes well — and it should, be- 
cause the technology is already 
available — the new century will 
dawn on the first large new oper- 
ational U.S. launch vehicle in 
three decades. 

— Jerry Grey DO 



READ MY GLYPHS: 

How true are the tales that lie behind 

the boasts of Maya kings? 



Imagine reconstructing Ameri- 
can history exclusively from the 
words on government monu- 
ments and in State of the Union 
addresses. "Sure, your first re- 
action is to dismiss it all as prop- 
aganda," says Linda Scheie, a Uni- 
versity of Texas art historian, "but 
looking over two hundred years 
you'd find the string of history." 

A similar problem confronts 
Scheie and other archaeologists 
who study the ancient cultures of 
southern Mexico and Central Amer- 
ica. There, between 900 B.C. and 
a.d. 900, the Maya built monumen- 
tal cities, detailed the passage of 
time, researched astronomy, and 
farmed the rain forest while Eu- 
rope stumbled through its Dark Ag- 
es. Only recently have archaeol- 
ogists cracked the code of the hi- 
eroglyphics that festoon Maya 
structures. Mo longer tantalizing 
visual poetry, the glyphs now 
read as prose. After nearly 1,100 
years the Maya speak again. 

But do the words really tell the 
complex political history of the Ma- 
ya, as Scheie and others believe? 
Or do they merely spin the stories 
that Maya kings wanted readers 
to believe? The debate currently 
divides Mayan archaeologists, 
but recent evidence suggests 
that the hieroglyphics do indeed 
speak the truth. 



and procession 

In ancient 

Mesoamerica: 

How much 

history was the 

carrying-on 

of an overdressed 

elite? 



At Copan in Honduras stands 
the most richly inscribed Maya 
monument yet found — the Hiero- 
glyphic Stairway erected by King 
Smoke-Shell in a.d. 756. Its 2,200 
glyphs trace his pedigree back to 
the legendary Blue-Quetzal-Ma- 
caw, who Copan kings claimed 
founded the dynasty in the fifth 
century. But whether Blue-Quetzal- 
Macaw was a myth or a real per- 
son had never been conclusively 
established. Was Smoke-Shell try- 
ing to shore up the royal image by 
calling on a mythical ancestor? 

As it turns out, Smoke-Shell 
wasn't blowing smoke. Recently 
Northern Illinois University archae- 
ologist William Fash found a se- 
ries of buried inscriptions dated 
A.D. 435, naming Blue-Quetzal- 
Macaw as the current ruler. "He 
wasn't a fairy tale," Fash asserts. 
"He was a viable historical figure." 

Last spring in Guatemala, Van- 
derbilt University's Arthur De- 
marest uncovered yet another hi- 
eroglyphic staircase, this time in 
the ruins of Dos Pilas. The Dos Pi- 
las glyphs record a spate of bat- 
tles with the distant Maya power 
center of Tikal. 

"We'd seen a few references to 
wars with Tikal, but this confirms 
it nicely," Demarest says. "It also 
confirms the origins of the Dos 
Pilas dynasty." 



How much the royal wars 
shaped Maya life is the question 
that fuels the debate over the rel- 
evance of the hieroglyphics. 
"Were these wars just the ridicu- 
lous carryings-on of an over- 
dressed elite," asks Demarest, "or 
did they have real impact on the 
landscape?" His opinion: Instead 
of altering political geography, 
most Maya wars simply furnished 
material for the winners' propagan- 
da, which in turn bolstered a roy- 
al power base that leaned precar- 
iously on personal charisma, 

And therein lies the danger of 
depending on hieroglyphic narra- 
tives for history, skeptics say. "Bat- 
tles were fought and lost," says 
William Sanders, a Mayanist at 
Pennsylvania State University, 
"but political relationships be- 
tween states didn't change— 
that's what bothers me about 
these stories." 

While Demarest concedes 
that the inscriptions have the trap- 
pings of propaganda, he believes 
the glyphs don't lie but merely 
leave out embarrassing details. 
"Maya propaganda is so obvi- 
ous," he says, "it's easy to read 
past its strutting, bragging nature. 
You get to a skeletal history, and 
then you can flesh out the skele- 
ton with archaeology." 

— Gregory T Pope DO 



— 




aniruD 



SOLID-STATE NOSE: 

A computer duplicates the wiring in the brain's olfactory 

cortex, where odors are processed 



A computer 

model proved so 

adept at 

ferreting out 

electronic 

'■smells," it's led 

to a chip 

giving silicon 

"brains" 

new powers of 

recognition. 



Someday, if the Navy 
builds a radar system 
that sniffs the skies with 
the aid of a computer model capa- 
ble of remembering and distin- 
guishing friendly from unfriendly 
aircraft, it may be thanks to 
neuroscientists at the University 
of California's Bonney Center for 
the Neurobiology of Learning and 
Memory at Irvine. According to 
Richard Granger, the model's 
builder, it could provide valuable 
insights into how powers of mind 
emerge from the real brain. 

The computer model of smell 
is based on organic brain circuits 
identified by Granger's collabora- 
tor Gary Lynch, a pioneer in-the 
study of mechanisms of learning 
and memory. The network of 
5,000 interconnecting cells is pro- 




grammed to mimic neurons in the 
olfactory cortex that contain N- 
methyl-D-aspartate receptors. 
Lynch previously demonstrated in 
animals that stimulation of such 
neurons causes successively 
stronger responses, a phenome- 
non called long-term potentiation 
(LTP), which neuroscientists be- 
lieve is a fundamental process in 
memory formation. 

The mathematically coded 
odors tested on the simulation 
were also derived from Lynch's 
studies. When he applied similar 
electrical patterns directly to the 
olfactory centers of rats' brains, 
the animals reared and sniffed as 
if they were smelling a real scent. 
They could even distinguish one 
electronic odor from another. But 
it was impossible to figure out 
what was going on inside the an- 
imals' heads until Granger con- 
structed his computer model. 
"The results were unexpected," 
Granger says. "At first the re- 
sponse looked random, but the 
first sniff always caused the 
same group of cells to fire." He no- 
ticed that distinct cell-firing pat- 
terns began to accompany the sec- 
ond and third sniffs as the com- 
puter's recognition of odors was 
fine-tuned. Granger compares the 
process by which the circuits 
sort responses into hierarchical cat- 
egories to a wine testing. "On the 
first sniff you know it's a wine; on 
the second sniff, French; on the 
third, a bordeaux." 

The key to the computer mod- 
el's odor-distinguishing capabili- 
ties appears to be the sniff rate- 
five times a second. The frequen- 
cy corresponds to the natural 
t rate at which animals sniff 
out clues to the environ- 
ment, and to the pattern 
of brain waves called 
theta rhythms that 
accompany such 
behavior. Lynch 
and others have 
found that theta 
rhythms are al- 



so present when animals are learn- 
ing tasks and seem directly asso- 
ciated with LTP activation in indi- 
vidual neurons. 

The observation leads Lynch to 
wonder whether the patterns in 
the model's simulation might also 
apply to the neocortex, where high- 
er forms of learning take place. 
"The basic design principles are 
repeated throughout the neo- 
cortex," Lynch says. "The olfac- 
tory cortex should serve as a Roset- 
ta stone for understanding the 
neocortex," 

The extraordinary talent for 
odor recognition displayed by 
rats leads Granger to think along 
similar lines. 

"Because olfactory perception 
is the -evolutionary precursor for 
the rest of the cortex, not only 
might we learn about other prima- 
ry perception such as vision, hear- 
ing, and touch," he says, "but the 
progressively more fine-tuned 
brain cell activity in the model 
may underlie the rapid, long-last- 
ing, large-capacity memory that 
allows a human to distinguish fac- 
es and voices. It may have to do 
with why we take a second 
glance, another perceptual sam- 
ple, at all." 

The Defense Advanced Re- 
search Projects Agency has invest- 
ed heavily in this and similar un- 
dertakings. The Irvine scientists 
collaborating with engineers at 
Adaptive Solutions, Inc., in Bea- 
verton, Oregon, have translated 
the Granger-Lynch simulation in- 
to a patented custom computer 
chip. Containing 50,000 cells— 
nearly as many as the entire rat 
olfactory cortex — the chip is de- 
signed to interface with conven- 
tional computers to perform diffi- 
cult voice and image recognition 
tasks. Granger sees another pos- 
sibility: Such a technology might 
be the basis for implantable 
brain pacemakers to correct mal- 
functioning senses. "We'll go 
where the circuits lead us," he 
says. — Jeff Goldberg DO 



ART5 



TALES FROM THE SCRIPT: 

From fantasizing professors and time-traveling cyborgs, 

to monsters that really do live in the closet 



Will Arnold 

terminate the child 

leader? Will 

Robin (Williams) 

maiden in medieval 
Manhattan? 

Do you really think 
we will tell you 

and spoil your sum- 
mer screening? 



Science fiction continues 
its hyperdrive pace in Hol- 
lywood, providing mov- 
iemakers with the best opportuni- 
ty to show off their special effects. 
And two of this summer's likeliest 
blockbusters — The Rocketeer 
and Terminator 2: Judgment 
Day — are science fiction at its 
pure, unadulterated best. 

Two of the season's earliest 
scheduled releases include Sub- 
urban Commando and The Fish- 
er King. Starring Hulk Hogan and 
Christopher Lloyd, Suburban Com- 
mando involves an extraterrestri- 
al mercenary seeking asylum and 
a "quiet vacation" on Earth. In The 
Fisher King, Robin Williams hits. 
the screen again, this time asa 
former professor of history who 
lives in a fantasy world of his own 
making, one where turrets and cas- 
tles form the skyline of a medieval 
New York City populated by dam- 
sels in distress and knights in shin- 
ing armor. 

Moving up in history to- 1938, 
daring pilot Cliff Secord finds an 
extraordinary rocket pack that en- 
ables him to fly in The Rocketeer, 
a Disney film based 
on Dave Stevens's 
comic book se- 
ries and slated 
for June re- 
lease. A special- 




ly designed helmet not only 
helps Secord to navigate but al- 
so keeps his identity a secret in 
this good-versus-evil science-fic- 
tion adventure. The Rocketeer is 
the kind of film Uncle Walt would 
have commissioned himself. 

In July Bill and Ted's next ex- 
cellent adventure will take them 
to California in the year 2691 . Un- 
der the tentative title BUI and Ted 
Go to Hell, our unlikely heroes are 
pursued by evil Bill- and Ted-like 
robots programmed to annihilate 
the human time travelers. And in 
Radio Flyer two brothers escape 
into the magical world of child- 
hood, where animals can talk, mon- 



young John Connor, the post-nu- 
clear resislance leader. 

A terminator of another sort, 
Chucky, the killer doll, returns in 
Child's Play 3 later this summer, 
And Anthony Michael Hall plays 
A Gnome Named Gnorm, a fan- 
tasy involving a little person from 
Inner Earth who helps a detective 
solve crimes. To find out if anyone 
steals Gnorm's Lucky Charms, 
catch the movie in August. 

Cryonics serves as the basis 
for the plot in September's Late 
for Dinner. Taking part in a bizarre 
and dangerous experiment in 




sters really do live in the closet, 
and a little red wagon (Radio 
Flyer) can fly. 

July is also the month of the Ter- 
minator, with Arnold Schwarze- 
negger reprising his cyborg role. 
In the original film, the Termina- 
tor traveled back to 1984 but 
failed in his mission to kill the wom- 
an whose child would grow up to 
lead the future human resistance 
to robots. Directed by James 
Cameron (Aliens, The Abyss), Ter- 
minator 2: Judgment Day begins 
with Armageddon (August 29, 
1997), when 3 billion people die 
in a nuclear holocaust. With the 
survivors poised for rebellion, 



1962, two friends are placed in fro- 
zen animation and wake up 29 
years later feeling as if they Just 
had a good night's sleep. 
Everyone else, however, has 
aged nearly three decades. The 
comedy revolves around the hu- 
man guinea pigs' return home 
and their attempts to reestablish 
bonds with their families. 

And don't worry. Freddy Krueg- 
er lives, at least until October and 
the release of Nightmare on Elm 
Street VI— Freddy's Dead: The Fi- 
nal Nightmare. Is this really the 
end of Freddy? Don't bet on it — 
but it does make a nice long ti- 
tle.— A.J. S. RaylDO 



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION PRESENTS 



General Grants Sword 



The first official reproduction 
of a magnificent sword that 
reflects both the conflict and 
the splendor of America's 
Civil War. 



ARTIFICIAL 
irUTELUGErUCE 



MORE POWER TO THEM: 

Western computers will help the Soviets modernize 

their nuclear power industry 



The Soviets hope 

to use the 

new computers 

to design 

inherently safe 

reactors, 

a promising export 

commodity. 



It's no wonder that Soviet nucle- 
ar power engineers have a 
credibility problem: Witness 
the initial response of a highly 
ranked Soviet physicist to the re- 
port of the Chernobyl accident in 
1986. State officials wanted to 
know what kind of radiation 
might be leaking into the environ- 
ment and what problems it might 
cause, the scientist says. He and 
his colleagues concluded that an 
explosion at the Chernobyl plant 
could not possibly occur. So 
they told officials that the report 
must be wrong and advised 
them not to worry about it. 

Although some Soviet nuclear 
engineers pine for the old days of 
discreetly handled disasters, oth- 
ers have begun using giasnoslto 
help polish their profession's tar- 
nished reputation. The backbone 
of the effort is a recent $32 mil- 
lion purchase of American main- 
frame computers — six Cyber 
962's manufactured by Control Da- 
ta — to be devoted exclusively to 
improving the safety of Soviet nu- 
clear power plants, 

Although the sale far exceeds 
U.S. and international trade limi- 
tations on exports to the Soviet 
Union, it was approved last Oc- 
tober with stipulations regarding 
who may operate the computers. 
Delivered early in the year to six 
Soviet nuclear power research in- 
stitutes, the general-purpose main- 
frames will accelerate safety ef- 
forts already under way, especial- 
ly at the country's 15 Chernobyl- 
type reactors still in operation. 

Notoriously slow and unreliable 
Soviet computers have been a ma- 
jor stumbling block to designing 
and operating safe reactors. In 
the West, nuclear engineers run 
innumerable computer simula- 
tions to study the possible results 
of various situations. But simu- 
lations require a lot of computer 
power, and the Soviet machines 
have not been up to the task. As 
a result, Soviet engineers had lit- 
tle idea what to expect if reactors 




malfunctioned or were misman- 
aged. The Control Data machines 
will help them eliminate the sort 
of design flaws that led to the 
Chernobyl accident. 

However, the speed and pow- 
er of the U.S. computers, while nec- 
essary, were not their primary sell- 
ing points. The Cyber machines' 
overriding attraction is their abili- 
ty to exchange data with other 
Western computers, a feat the So- 
viet hardware cannot accomplish. 
Having compatible hardware will 
enable scientists at Electricite de 
France International, the World 
Association of Nuclear Operators, 
Italy's atomic energy agency, and 
other organizations to analyze 
Soviet computer data and sug- 
gest improvements. The Argonne 
National Laboratory near Chica- 
go, is already sifting through its li- 
brary for software programs for 
the new computers. 

In matters of plant safety, ex- 
pert opinion from international or- 
ganizations has proved useful in 
addressing the concerns of the in- 
creasingly vocal Soviet environ- 
mental movement, which has 
blocked the construction of new 
Soviet nuclear plants. The new 
computers will help the Soviets 
work with the Western organiza- 
tions more effectively, which the 
Soviet nuclear scientists hope 
will reassure the Greens and help 



to avoid conflicts with them over 
the modernization of old plants 
and the-building of new ones to 
meet future energy needs. 

The Soviets also plan to use the 
Control Data machines to design 
and simulate so-called inherently 
safe reactors that automatically 
cool down in the event of an ac- 
cident. While many countries, in- 
cluding the United States, are work- 
ing on such reactors, none have 
yet been built. Soviet engineers 
are especially optimistic about in- 
herently safe breeder reactors 
that use lead, or a lead-bismuth 
mixture, as a Goolant. Nonbreed- 
er reactors use water to cool the 
core, while conventional breeder 
reactors use sodium, a fairly vol- 
atile element. 

Lead and lead-bismuth, how- 
ever, don't explode, like sodium, 
or evaporate quickly, like water, 
making them good candidates for 
coolant materials in inherently 
safe reactors. 

Unlike most other countries, the 
Soviet Union already uses lead or 
lead-bismuth in some of its con- 
ventional military reactors. Soviet 
scientists' familiarity with lead and 
lead-bismuth could give them a 
much-needed jump on the rest of 
the world in developing inherently 
safe reactor technology, which 
could be a profitable export. 

— Fred G uteri DO 




conmnjuunn 

READ THIS PAGE TO SOMEONE WHO CANT: 

Meet, with minimal editing, Ms. Melvyn Campbell. Plus: Coneheads 

that ticket polluters, and stalking the wild rayon 



I came to America from Ja- 
maica in 1969. I wish I had 
known about a literacy pro- 
gram then, because I would 
be a better reader today. 
Back then I had to have my 
son help me with my busi- 
ness, filling out forms and pay- 
ing bills. Finally, he said to 
me, "You have to help your- 
self." I decided to try to 
make up my own bills and 
do my own banking. One 
day I was looking at TV and 
I saw the announcemen! for 
the literacy program at the 
Brooklyn Public Library, so I 
called the number. 

They told me to come for 
a test, and I came in. I start- 
ed by working on the com- 
puter, I moved from there to 
a beginning class, and final- 
ly I got a tutor. It helped me; 
I am not at the place where 
I was when I first came to the 
program. When I went to 
school as a child in Jamaica, 
if you had problems, the 
teacher helped you a little, 

but you had to be fast, or the other children just left you 
behind. It gave me the mind not to go back. You may be 
getting help at home, but you can't retain it because you 
■ know that you have to go back to school and face the 
other kids. But you can't blame it all on other people, you 
are the person who is holding back your own self. 

When you can't read, you go someplace, like the 
bank, or for a job, and they say, "Make sure you read the 
fine lines," but that's where the tricky part is. If you can't 
read, you don't know to ask questions. They take you at 
your word, they aren't going to ask you any questions. 
Suppose it is your money, and you don't understand the 
fine print, you can have real problems. Or if you go on 
vacation, it can be difficult because at home you find 
your way, but traveling you don't know the area. If there 
is a sign saying, "Do not enter," and you cannot read it, 
thai can mean trouble. 

Not being able to read well holds you back in every- 
thing because you don't have confidence in yourself. It 




changes the way you stand 
and the way you sit and the 
way you deliver yourself. You 
talk less for fear of saying the 
wrong thing. A person that 
cannot read thinks right, but 
they don't know how to put 
their thoughts together into 
words because they doubt 
themselves. You may know 
the truth about something, 
and you want to tell a person 
about it, but just because 
you can't read, and the oth- 
er person can, or the other 
person went to college, you 
feel that they know it all. So 
you don't say anything be- 
cause you think that you will 
say the wrong thing. Since I 
have been coming to the lit- 
eracy program, my reading 
and writing are better. I still 
have a long way to go, but it 
has helped me a lot. My un- 
derstanding is much better: 
Filling out forms is easier, I 
can get more when I listen to 
the news. I understand 
more words, and that helps 
me to get more when people are talking, and to try to 
speak a little better myself. I personally can say that I 
have stepped up from where I was in reading and writ- 
ing, and I have confidence that I didn't have before. 

My advice for other adults who have trouble reading is 
to spend a little time with yourself and say, "I must help 
myself." Do not say, "I am too old, it's too late." While 
there is life there is hope. Do not give up, there is hope 
for the old as well as the young. It was just lucky for me 
that I am one of the fortunate ones to have the opportu- 
nity to find a program to help me. I truly want to read bet- 
ter and do a lot of things on my own. I don't want to have 
to depend on anyone, but just to do things to help 
myself.— MELVYN CAMPBELL 

Mev/r. Csmpceii has been a member of the Brooklyn Public Li- 
brary Literacy Program lor throe yc-jrs Mr-. Carnp'ocil works for 
a hole! in Mini i *-isih: . ; ;e: gr;n:;k;hi;dren In Flor- 

ida as often as she can. 




coruTiruuunn 




orgzns. as cj:vca:ed 



SEX, EVOLUTION, 
AND LAC AN DON! A 
SCHISMATICA 

When il came to the sex 
life of plants, botanists 

thought they had seen it all. 
Every flowering plant, they 
believed, places the pistil, 
or female sex organ, at the 
center of the flower with 
the male pollen-producing 
stamens surrounding it. 
■But a recent discovery by 
Esteban Martinez may 
necessitate a rewrite of 
Biology 101 textbooks. 

While trekking though the 
jungles of southern Mexico, 
Martinez, a biologist with the 
National University of Mex- 
ico, discovered a tiny flower 
with a single stamen in 
the center surrounded by 50 
or more pistils — the oppo- 
site of "normal" flowers. 

Researchers say the ori- 
gin and evolution of the 
flower, Lacandonia schis- 
matics, poses interesting 
possibilities. It might simply 



SEXUAL DEVIATIONS, 
SUCH AS FOOT 
FETISHES, ARE AN AL- 
MOST EXCLUSIVELY 
MALE PHENOMENON. 

THE FIRST HUMAN 
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINA- 
TION TOOK PLACE 
IN 1785, RESULTING IN 
THE BIRTH Of A 
HEALTHY BABY BOY. 



be a curious mutation, or it 
may be the result of 
chromosomal rearrange- 
ments forged, over thou- 
sands of years, by a small 
population of plants. 

"The flower is certainly 
one of the most interest- 
ing plant discoveries of this 
century," says Gerrit 
Davidse, Missouri Botanical 
Garden curator who is 
working with Martinez to un- 
ravel the floral puzzle. 

— Tom B. Kovach 



UP CLOSE AND 
MINERAL 

For the first time, 

scieri sts have taken atomic- 
scale phoios of the surface 
of minerals, a development 
Stanford University geo- 
chemist Michael Hochella 
calls "revolutionary." The 
pictures, captured by a 
scanning tunneling electron 
microscope, reveal mole- 
cules and even individual 
atoms. The breakthrough 
could lead to better ways of 
coping with toxic spills." 

When any substance is 
dissolved in water and 
poured onto soil, it reacts 
with minerals in the soil. For 



example, when water con- 
taining dissolved gold 
flows over sulfide rock, each 
gold atom gains electrons. 
A thin, invisible film of 
metallic gold accumulates 
on the rock's surface. In the 
same way, a toxic metal in 
solution might bind to 
minerals in the soil instead 
of trickling down to poi- 
son groundwater. With the 
new technique, "we can 
look at the chemistry at the 
interface between min- 
eral particles and groundwa- 
ter," says Hochella. Eventu- 
ally, ■geochemists may 
predict how toxic materials 
will behave in different 
soils. — Sandy Fritz 





CANCER WARNING 
SYSTEM 

Nearly 10,000 Ameri- 
cans die each week oi 
cancer. But a test under 
development at the Univer- 
sity of Colorado's School of 
Medicine may allow doctors 
to detect cancers before 
they gain a foothold in the 
body, dramatically improv- 
ing the chances of success- 
ful treatment. 

While researching abnor- 
mal blood clotting in cancer 
patients, biochemist Stuart 
Gordon detected the pres- 
ence of a protein thai 
promoted blood clotting 
around malignant tumors. 
Dubbed cancer procoagu- 



ic.n: (CP), the protein was 
aosem from normal cells 
and it wasn't present in 
benign tumors. It proliferat- 
ed, however, in early cancer 
cells. Armed with this 
information, Gordon devel- 
oped a blood test for 
detecting the early stages of 
cancer that was 100 percent 
accurate in its first trials. 

Further studies show 
promise for CP as a possible 
cancer vaccine. When mice 
were immunized with CP 
and then injected with 
cancer cells, the rodents 
didn't develop cancer, 
unlike control groups that 
got the cancer cells but not 
the CP. 

Gordon cautions, howev- 
er, that results are only 
preliminary and much more 
needs to be learned about 
CP. It might, for example, 
interfere with wound healing 
or tissue regeneration. 
Gordon now wants to look 
for the presence of CP in 
urine. If he finds it, home 
cancer tests could become 
as common and inexpen- 
sive as home pregnancy 
tests. An ongoing 2,000- 
patient study will take a year 
to complete, and gaining 
FDA approval for his test will 
take at least another two 
years. — Peggy Noonan 

"Beyond the mountains, 
more mountains. " 

— Haitian proverb 



WOMEN ARE BIGGER FLIRTS THAN MEN, 
BEING MORE LIKELY TO USE EYE CONTACT, SMILES, 
FLEETING TOUCHES, AND SUGGESTIVE 
GROOMING (LIP LICKING, HAIR SMOOTHING} TO 
ATTRACT ATTENTION. MEN HUG AND KISS. 



FASTEST LASER IN 
THE WEST 

Lasers are as lasers do 
and to a pair of Taiwanese 
researchers at AT&T's Bell 
Laboratories, that means 
speed. And in less than a 
year Young-Kai Chen and 
Ming Wu have developed 
the world's fastest laser, 
which could revolutionize 
long-distance fiber-optic 
telecommunications and mi- 
crowave communications. 

The colliding-pulse mode- 
locked (CPM) laser cranks 
out 350 billion light pulses s 
second, 100 times faster 
than any commercially 
. To attain 



such speeds, the CPM 
laser's pulses must also be 
extremely brief— less than 
one trillionth of a second per 
pulse. Each pulse carries 
one bit of information, so the 
faster the laser, the quicker 
data can be transmitted. 
The semiconductor laser 
has other advantages; It 
runs cooler, uses less 
energy, and costs less to 
produce than light-operated 
models. 

The AT&T physicists are 
optimistic that they'll remain 
ahead in the fast-moving 
laser field. "We want to get 
lasers as fast as one 
thousand billion pulses," Wu 
says. — Lloyd Chrein 





coruTiruuunn 



A CANCER CURE 
GROWS IN OREGON 

The promising anti- 
cancer drug taxol comes 
from the Pacific yew, a rare 
and slow-growing ever- 
green found in Canada and 
a few northwestern states. 
Since each taxol treatment 
destroys up to three trees, 
however, nature may not 
supply enough taxol to meet 
demand. While chemists 
have so far been unable to 
synthesize the drug, an 
Ithaca, New York, company 
has recently developed a 
method to produce taxol 
without killing trees. 

Taxol is produced by the 
Pacific yew in response to 
stress, such as an attack by 
fungi or insects. To make 
taxol in the lab, scientists at 
Phyton Catalytic place a 
small piece of yew bark in a 
nutrient-rich culture medi- 
um, causing the cells to 
grow and multiply. An 
added chemical simulates a 
natural stress to the tree, 
making- "the cell think it is 
being attacked," says 



Tnank vsvr. Cancer patients 
might war:: to plan; a Pacific yew. 
36 OMNI 



Phyton's president Rustin 
Howard. "It responds by 
producing taxol." 

The technique still needs 
refinement to adapt to 
large-scale production. 

—Billy Allstetter 



NINETY PERCENT OF THE 
SCIENTISTS IN THE 
HISTORY OF THE WORLD 
ARE STILL AUVE. 



CUBISM 
ILLUMINATED 

Researchers at Sandia 
National Laboratories in 
New Mexico have devel- 
oped a light cube that uses 
no electricity and lasts for 20 
years. Its power source: 
radioactive tritium. 

The self-contained light 
cubes, says Lee Leonard, 
research manager of the 
project, are ten times 
brighter than earlier tritium- 
powered lights and far 
hardier. "They're so much 
more robust, you could 
put a bullet through them 
and only the bullet 
hole itself would go dark," 
he says. 

The Sandia lights are 
fashioned from transparent, 
spongelike glass cubes 
bonded with zinc sulfide 
phosphor and tritium. As the 
tritium decays, it produces 
radiation, exciting phos- 
phors and producing light. 
While light escapes from the 
cubes, radiation does not. 

A prototype should 'be 
ready later (his year, and the 
light cube' could be 
commercially available by 
1992.— George Ngbbe 




Smile, you 're on Cone Camera: Donald Stedman checks a pollu- 
tion monitor hidden inside a .traffic conq. 



CAUGHT IN THE ACT 

The next time you 
drive off a highway exit 
ramp in a cloud of exhaust 
fumes, don't be too sure 
the traffic Gone you 
passed was just a traffic 
cone. It could conceal 
an infrared, remote- 
sensing pollution monitor. 

Connected to a video 
camera, the monitor rec- 
ords the license plate 
numbers of cars that emit 
100 or more grams of 
carbon monoxide per mile, 
well over the limits set by 
the Clean Air Act. Citations 
are sent to violators. 

Designed by University 
of Denver chemistry pro- 
fessor Donald Stedman, 
the remote emissions 
monitor has a negligible 
margin of error, according 
to road tests, reported 
by the Journal of the Air 
and Waste Management 
Association. And it can 
test as many as 1,200 cars 
per hour, day or night, in 
any weather. 

The monitor checks '■ 



emission levels of passing 
cars by shooting parallel 
beams of infrared light 
though the exhaust fumes 
from the tailpipes of pas- 
sing cars, the: exhaust 
gases altering the beams' 
wavelength. Focused 
on a mirror on the opposite 
side of the roadway, the 
beams bounce back to the 
small, polygon-shaped 
detection unit. It requires 
less than a second to de- 
termine a car's emissions. 
Several state highways 
have expressed interest in 
Stedman's prototype. The 
reasons, the designer 
points out, are obvious. 
"Ten percent of our cars 
create more than fifty 
percent of the air pollu- 
tion," Stedman says. 
"Many states require an- 
nual emission tests, but 
they are annoying, incon- 
venient, and ineffective 
because; they' re per- 
formed at idling speeds, 
not on the highways., 
Besides, they do nothing 
to clean the air." 

— George Nobbe 




canjTiruuunn 




RAW FASHION 

Chalk up another use 
for agricultural waste. While 
biomasss proponets cite 
sugarcane and manure as 
potential energy sources, 
corn stalks and straw, for 
example, could be raw 
material for rayon. The only 
difference you'll notice will 
be on price tags in the 
stores. 

The production of rayon 
requires high-quality cellu- 
lose from, say, cotton. This, 
and the highly toxic 
processing chemicals that 
quickly corrode equipment, 
makes the manufacture of 
rayon expensive, with the 
costs, of course, passed 
along to the consumer. 

A technique developed 
by Purdue University's Li Fu 
Chen, however, uses cellu- 
lose from any source and 
dissolves it in" a zinc chloride 
solution that is less 
expensive and less toxic 
than other cellulose sol- 
as OMNI 



vc-r.s. Spinr ng the cellulose- 
zinc chloride mixture pro- 
duces rayon fibers almost 
immediately, unlike the 
current method that takes 
nearly 18 hours. The zinc 
chloride, moreover, is recy- 
clable. 

Chen hopes to have his 
process on the market in five 
years, if not sooner. "The 
eqi_. rjment is already there," 
he says. "All the industry 
has to do is change the 
preparation procedure." 

— Robert W. Tinsley 



THIRTY-THREE PERCENT 
MORE BOY BABIES 
THAN GIRLS DIE IN THE 
FIRST YEAR OF LIFE. 

AN ELECTRIC EEL'S 
CHARGE IS SO POTENT 
IT CAN KNOCK A ' 
HORSE UNCONSCIOUS 
FROM 20 FEET AWAY 



A ONE-PACK-PER-DAY CIGARETTE SMOKER 
CONSUMES 400 MILLIGRAMS OF NICOTINE IN A 
WEEK. THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO 

CAUSE INSTANT DEATH IF TAKEN IN ONE DOSE. 



KILLER 
PAINKILLERS? 

Problems in Europe : 

with the nonprescripver: 
piiinkiliar phenaceiin have 
raised ques":cns sboul 
acetaminophen, a chemi- 
cal, derivative of phen- 
acetin and a key pain- 
killing ingredient in Tyle- 
nol, Anacin-3, and Extra- 
Strength Excedrih. 

A 20-yea' sllcv of Swiss 
fac 

that women who.regularly 
■took high doses of 
phenacetiri, banned in the 
United States since 1983, 
faced elevated risks of 
.kidney disease and kidney- 
related death. When in- 
gested, phenacetin breaks 
down into acetaminophen 
and other. by-products. 



Whciher acetaminophen is 
the culprit in- kidney 
damage has yet to be 
determined. 

"Acetaminophen may 
be completely safe," says 
Paul Stolley of the 
Utwc-rsity o' Pennsylvania 



■ph< 



icaiions 



way — one or two tablets 
every six hours for a 
couple of days — have 
absolutely nothing to worry 
about "I'm worried about 
people with, chronic pain' 
who take eight to ten pills 
a day for a couple of 
years," be says. 

— Steve Nad is 





conrnruuunn 




SMELL NO EVIL, 
TASTE NO EVIL 

The lipid-ceramic "su- 
persandwich" developed by 
scientisis at Cornell Uni- 
versity may not look like a 
nose or a tongue, but it 
will be able to "smell" and 
"taste" as well as the 
real organs. 

In nature, lipid mem- 
branes in the tongue and 
nose play a key role in 
differentiating smells and 
'tastes. So, to create artificial 
olfactory sensors, materials 
scientisis Emmanuel Gian- 
nelis and Wolfgang Sachse 
layered lipids between sup- 
porting sheets of an ultrafine 
ceramic material. 

When specific aromatic or 
flavorful substances come 
in contact with the lipid layer 
of the supersandwich, 
the electrical character- 
istics of the artificial mem- 
brane change. 

The researchers believe 
the change could be mea- 
sured by a transducer. 
If successful, the artificial 

40 OMNI 



sensors could detect bitter 
or toxic contaminants in 
food and health-care 

products or "in any situation 
where it's too dangerous 
for humans to do the sniffing 
or tasting," Giannelis says. 
— Kathleen McAuliffe 



THE SIGNATURE OF 
SUICIDE 

The body's natural 
opiates perform a host of 
functions, from numbing 
pain to producing euphoria. 
But they may also play 
a part in severe depression, 
helping to identify patients 
at risk of committing suicide. 

Neurobiologists Anat 
Biegon of New York Uni- 
versity's School of Medicine 
and Ruth Gross-lsserof 
of the Weizmann Institute of 
Science in Israel tallied 
the number of opiate 
receptors in the brains of 12 
suicide victims and those of 
12 people who died from 
other causes. The result: 
Suicide victims sported up 
to nine times more opiate 
receptors than normal peo- 
ple, with the highest 
concentration found in the 
sensory-motor region of the 



brain. "This difference may 
relate to the common 
observation that depressed 
people are much more 
sensitive to pain and much 
less sensitive to pleasure," 
Biegon says. 

Diagnostic equipment can 
already detect changes in 
the number of opiate 
receptors, so a quantitative 
test for identifying suicide- 
prone patients may not be 
far away. "We may also find 
new drugs that act on these 
receptors," Biegon says. 

—Kathleen McAuliffe 



THE CRACKING SOUND 
FROM A SNAPPED 
WHIP IS A MINI SONIC 
BOOM, BREAKING 
THE SOUND BARRIER BY AT- 
TAINING SPEEDS 
OF UP TO 700 MPH. 



REACTIVE BUYING 

In a switch from the 
usual direction of technol- 
ogy transfer, the United 
States recently completed 
a deal to buy a nuclear 
reactor-— from the Soviet 
Union. 

The Department of Ener- 
gy, the Strategic Defense 
Initiative Organization, and 
the Air Force will pay the 
Soviets an as -yet- undeter- 
mined fee for the Topaz II 
Space Nuclear Power 
System, a reactor similar to 
the one that has been 
powering Soviet satellites 
for years. 

Studying the Topaz If 
would save the United 
States both time- and effort 



in developing a similar 
space nuclear power sys- 
tem. "We can learn some 
things -about how it is 
put together and operated, 
and apply that knowledge 
to the work we're doing on 
our program," says Tom 
Miller, chief of the Nuclear 
Propulsion Office at 
NASA's Lewis Research 
Center. According to Joe 
Nieberding at the Lewis 
Research Center, nuclear 
power may. replace the 
traditional photovoltaic 
cells in interplanetary flight 
and on the moon, where 
the rays of the sun would 
be diminished or inter- 
rupted for extended peri- 
ods of time. 

— Robert W. Tinsley 




lAfe/;' U:ke ■■!.- :hc United S.'--;fes 
bought this Soviet reactor. ' 



THE BUSI NESS OF GOING 

GRFFN 




steel- and gi; 

Fctei manclith at 1 Beacon 
Sl-iei (yes. of Boston Brah- 
nr,\ fame).- David Beckwith 
doesfst so m jch submit to as take com- 
mand »f 3.P. interview A paragon of 
"Brisks Brother sartonalism in his ox- 
ford 'ihiel aid power necktie. Beckwith's 
.'■ ' ■.■ y ': - so oointed, intense, ban- 
ttytng abo_* brakerspeafc terms like cap- 
.Ts, r_ f. "fj-. k-ng term appreciation, and 
urib/efse oi attractive stocks. During the 
Efea-esion Beckwith persistently glanc- 
es aver at his VDT, presumably for up- 
tc-t he-nanosecond input from Dow 

a „ :"ht- p Ne* Fngland entrepreneur, 
hcWing forth f r om a converted ware- 
he.?^ rung w^h tie-dyed banners just 
KJtaEle 5.: ,r .igton Vermont. Alan New- 
,;,. ■., .cses supine on a couch: 
■Bad- prat lems 'he says apologetical- 
ly This position enables his rainbow- 
socked- Birkenstock-shod feet to cross 
and uncross for emphasis, as strains of 
Van Morrison filter in irom elsewhere on- 
site Newman's universe of attractive sub- 
jects IncLic'es out of-body experience 
jd t 'k'nifer. softer spirit"— corporate 
styk-. 

As- Jii-erse as Beckwith and Newman 
seefrt in dtess and demeanor, they ac- 
tually have a great deal in common.- 
Bi'tt' i.:-:-.. are Evolved in businesses de- 
Vftt-.tf to preserving and improving life 



■ the planet for future generations by 
investing in green companies and 
green products. In fact, the very diver- 
sity oi these men demonstrates that 
green business is no longer considered 
a black-or-white affair, but now attracts 
an entire spectrum of people who are 
convinced there are fortunes to be 
made in this field. 

Beckwith is vice president and port- 
folio manager of a £56 million environ- 
mental fund at Freedom Capital Man- 
agement Corporation, the one fund at 
Freedom devoted to investing in com- 
panies like Ionics, Inc., which special- 
izes in water treatment, and Imco Recy- 
cling. Inc. These companies, Beckwith 
says, contribute to a cleaner or health- 
ier environment. 

Newman is president of Seventh Gen- 
eration, Inc.. a mail-order catalog busi- 
ness that features only environmental- 
ly friendly products, including organic 
products like aloe vera body lotion and 
Ecover nonpolluting dishwashing liquid. 
Applying textbook business principles to 
a Held virtually unknown five years ago, 
Newman has built up a multimillion- 
dollar money-spinner. 

Beckwith and Newman are success- 
ful entrepreneurs sincerely devoted to 
the proposition that investing in green 
companies and buying green products 
is not only good news for your con- 
science and for the environment but can 



also bring in big bucks. Says Beckwith: 
"The environmental track and the eco- 
nomic track are not perpendicular, 
they're parallel; they are common 
causes, more than competing causes." 
Newman agrees: "Environmental respon- 
sibility makes economic sense ninety- 
nine out of a hundred times." 

Similar testimony echoes from 
boardrooms to showrooms, from the 
halls of the Environmental Protection 
Agency to the factory floor: There is mon- 
ey to be made from saving the planet. 
Today government officials, mutual 
fund managers, and green consumer ad- 
vocacy groups agree that it makes 
sense financially to consider the envi- 
ronmental implications of all corporate 
decisions, from products and services 
to philosophy and management style. 

And in the future, the experts con- 
tend, green companies will leave their 
"dirty" companions far behind. Govern- 
ment and the venture capital community 
will take eco-minded companies more 
seriously. Green investing will be the 
wave of the future. Americans' purchas- 
ing dollars will have the power to 
change corporate policy; companies 
will sit up and listen to the green con- 
sumer. The prices for green products 
will actually come down, making them 
cheaper than their nongreen counter- 
parts. We'll even develop modular ap- 
pliances that can be easily customized. 



Instead of throwing out an old refriger- 
ator, we'll buy one for life and update 
it— spelling the end of the concept of 
planned obsolescence. 

On the practical level, green compa- 
nies not only try to produce products 
that are not harmful to the environment, 
but also work to produce these products 
through processes that are kind to the 
environment. A green company might 
manufacture, say, natural cosmetics, not 
tested on animals, as opposed to poly- 
styrene containers that are not easily re- 
cyclable, clog landfills, and whose pro- 
duction contributes to the depietion of 
the ozone layer. 

Green products, from unbleached cof- 
fee filters to energy-efficient refrigera- 
tors, enable customers to choose items 
that will do minimum damage to the plan- 
et, without significantly sacrificing con- 
venience or quality. 

Beyond products and services, 
green companies espouse a certain phi- 
losophy and management style from the 
CEO on down: They understand that in- 
dustry must take responsibility for its em- 
ployees, neighboring communities, and 
the planet as a whole — not just now, but 
in the long term. 

Products should be manufactured us- 
ing-the least amount of energy and pro- 
ducing the least amount of'toxic by- 
products possible. Employees should en- 
joy decent wages and benefits, perhaps 



a profit-sharing program; and there 
should be a regular forum enabling 
them to voice their concerns, com- 
plaints, and suggestions to manage- 
ment. In turn, administrators should en- 
list the expertise of the EPA and envi- 
ronmental groups on how to best use 
their resources. And a percentage of prof- 
its might be earmarked for local or in- 
ternational green organizations. 

"We got into Seventh Generation so 
we could leave the world in a better sit- 
uation than we found it when we start- 
ed," says Newman. It was Ronald 
Reagan, Newman claims, who, perhaps 
unwittingly, set the green business 
revolution in motion. "Reagan sard that 
government was not going to fund so- 
cial programs any longer," Newman 
says. "It took ten years for us to figure 
out that business had to step into the 
vacuum and start contributing to posi- 
tive change." 

Seventh Generation donates 1 per- 
cent of its revenues to nonprofit envi- 
ronmental organizations. It runs in- 
house seminars to educate employees 
on environmental issues. It is fanatical 
about recycling and using recycled prod- 
ucts like cardboard shipping boxes. 

What really differentiates the greens 
from the nongreens, however, is that 
green companies pay attention to a dou- 
ble bottom line: They place equal value 
on ecological and fiscal considerations. 



J.ROM 
THE BOARDROOM TO 

THE SHOWROOM. 
FROM THE HALLS OF 

THE EPA TO THE 

FACTORY FLOOR. YOU 

HEAR THE CRY 

THERES GOLD IN A 

GREENER PLANET 







9 




IN OURTIME: A GREEN, WELL- LIGHTED PLACE 



Architecture and design for the green 
office follow two interconnected 
tracks: Materials and procedures em- 
ployed should not be harmful to the eco- 
system; and the interior environment 
should promote the health and well- 
being of all employees. Seem like pret- 
ty simple premises? Surprisingly, the 
majority of architects and designers to- 
day either eschew or are ignorant of 
these basic principles. 

Not so Kirsten Childs, director of in- 
terior design for Croxton Collaborative, 
a New York City firm specializing in 
green architecture. 

Croxton has designed space for sev- 
eral eco-minded- organizations — nota- 
bly, award-winning offices for the Nat- 
ural Resources Defense Council 
(NRDC) and an upcoming project re- 



modeling an entire building for the Au- 
dubon Society. The best way to win pro- 
spective clients over to the green side 
is to emphasize the cost savings of- 
fered by green design. "We don't go 
in and talk about the environment; we 
talk about what we can do to save 
them money," says Childs. "The 
NRDC is saving more than fifty percent 
of energy costs compared with a con- 
ventionally fitted office." 

Perhaps the most significant savings 
derive from an energy-efficient ap- 
proach to lighting. 

"Lighting represents thirty percent of 
all energy used — not only for illumina- 
tion but also for cooling costs," Childs 
says, Croxton is cutting down on light- 
ing at Audubon and the NRDC by in- 
stalling highly efficient fixtures, using 
smaller fluorescent lamps (bulbs) with 
electronic ballasts (solid-state sockets 
that increase lamp efficiency), includ- 
ing occupancy sensors (motion-sensi- 
tive switches that turn off lights when 
a room is vacated), and maximizing day- 
light by using glass transoms to per- 
mit it to flow throughout the office. 

Cutting back on lighting not only 
saves -energy, it also saves employees 
from headache and fatigue caused by 
eyestrain. Peter Flack, managing prin- 
cipal of Flack + Kurtz, the engineers 
working with Croxton at the NRDC and 
Audubon, says that adjusting the qual- 
ity of light is as important as adjusting 
the quantity. 

Flack advocates using warmer, 
more amber-white, less blue-white, 



light. Ideally, light should be reflected, 
(shining upward from a cabinet, for in- 
stance) rather than direct, which 
causes glare. 

Air quality is another important as- 
pect of the green office. "Sick building 
syndrome" has received a lot of press 
when disease-causing bacteria breed- 
ing in air-conditioning units have 
spread through sealed buildings, sick- 
ening workers. 

Douglas Greenwood, manager of 
the Environmental Resource Program 
at tbe American Institute of Architects, 
based in Washington, DC, says that iron- 
ically, "the air you breathe on a city 
street is better than that in most offic- 
es." William McDonough, director of Wil- 
liam McDonough Architects in New 
York City, is another preeminent 
green practitioner. "Presently, an ar- 
chitect has to trip though a minefield 
of toxic building materials," Mc- 
Donough says. Synthetic fiber carpets 
and especially their adhesive glues 
emit (or "off-gas") toxins; particleboard 
used in office furniture off-gasses for- 
maldehyde; oil-based paints give off 
fumes. Aggravating the problem is the 
lack of fresh air. Childs says that 
Croxton designs call for fresh air to be 
circulated through an office six or sev- 
en times per hour. 

"You can tell the difference at the 
NRDC," she says. "Workers benefit; 
the air feels good all the time." Stud- 
ies show that by using nontoxic build- 
ing materials and proper ventilation, 
worker productivity increases. 



Finally, green office design strives 
to preserve the global environment 
and its precious resources. The Au- 
dubon project includes a gas-fired heat- 
ing and cooling system. Burning gas 
generates fewer noxious substances 
(like the sulfuric acid responsible for ac- 
id rain) and reduces carbon mon- and 
dioxide emissions (causes of global 
warming). Green designers also 
frown upon the profligate use of endan- 
gered species such as mahogany or 
teak. Bill McDonough says, "If you 
want to use hardwoods, buy from a 
source that's practicing sustainable for- 
estry. And you don't panel an entire 
room with it; you use it sparingly, treat- 
ing it like the precious commodity that 
it is." 

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 
There are plenty of simple things you 
can do to make your office a greener 
place. Most eco-minded products can 
be found everywhere. "We don't use 
state-of-the-art equipment; we just 
bring together materials available on 
the market," Childs says. And many 
green materials are also economical 
over the long haul. 

LIGHTING: 

• Decrease the number of lamps 
(bulbs) in fluorescent fixtures. 

• Use task lighting (i.e. a small, individu- 
al light at your workstation) with a flu- 
orescent (not incandescent) lamp. 

• Change color rendition from blue- 
white to a warmer amber-white light. 



• Replace conventional ballasts with 
more efficient electronic ballasts. 

• Change fluorescent lamps from T- 
12 to T-8 (a smaller, more efficient 
light bulb). . 

AIR QUALITY: 

• Trace the path of the air you're breath- 
ing to the outdoors. Be sure you are 
getting fresh air. Air intake vents may 
be over a dumpster or a subway grat- 
ing. Some landlords disconnect air in- 
takes to save money on energy. 

• Don't use air fresheners to dull the 
senses and mask problems. 

• Try to use latex paints; tack down car- 
pet (instead of gluing); install furniture 
made of solid wood (not particleboard). 

• Talk to your cleaning service about 
any harsh chemicals it might use. 

• Be sure anything that gives off 
fumes (a copying machine, for exam- 
ple) is properly vented. 

COMSERVATION: 

• Set up a recycling program. 

• Use vinegar to wash windows. 

• Avoid cleansers with solvents; try lem- 
on oil. 

.• Skip disposable polystyrene cu 
use ceramic mugs instead. 

• Request that your food service 
do away with plastic plates 
and knives. 

• No disposable pens (use a foun- 
tain pen) or pencils (use 
mechanical pencils). 

• Carpool or take public trans- 
portation to work. DO 



IN THE 
FUTURE, EXPERTS 

SAY GREEN 

COMPANIES WILL 

OUTSHINE 

THEIR "DIRTY" 

BROTHERS. 

ITS BUSINESSES' 

NEXT WAVE, SAYS 

SEVENTH 

GENERATION'S 

ALAN NEWMAN, 

BELOW 



Environmentalists and economists con- 
cur: Companies with this positive at- 
titude toward the environment, on-site 
and around the world, are miles ahead 
of the competition when it comes to mak- 
ing informed management decisions, 
and they are going to see substantial 
financial rewards for their commitment 
to environmental ideals. 

Earth's Best of Middlebury, Vermont, 
makes baby food using only certified or- 
ganic (chemical-free) produce that's bet- 
ter for babies, farmers, and the ecosys- 
tem. Earth Care Paper based in Mad- 
ison, Wiscon- jjpsin, recycles pa- 
per products. *& It has a spec- 
ial ethics task">* force that, for in- 
stance, fielded a request from Exxon 
for office supplies by saying, We'll sell 
you our paper if you change your envi- 
ronmental policies. (Exxon declined.) 

And shoppers in Santa Fe can find 
green products at How On Earth, with 
2,300 square feet of merchandise, 
where everything — from the biodegrad- 
able floor tiling to the solar-powered com- 

44 OMNI 



pany car — embodies the philosophy 
that green products pay for themselves 
in savings on packaging costs (concen- 
trated laundry detergent sold in small, 
recyclable containers). 

Naturally, the financial community 
wants a piece of the action. Green in- 
vesting is a specialty for mutual fund 
managers at the jjp Calvert Group 
in Washington, J»» DC, who seek 
out environmen- t& tally responsi- 
ble companies,' asserting that this is a 
promising low-risk, long-term growth ar- 
ea. Green investors predict that the 
green movement is more than a pass- 
ing fad, that cleaning up- the environ- 
ment will become increasingly big busi- 
ness, and that stockholders don't want 
to be responsible for a polluting com- 
pany's cleaning up after itself. 

To spur America on to environmen- 
tal responsibility, the EPA has devel- 
oped programs like Green Lights, 
which encourages corporations to in- 
stall energy-efficient lighting. If U.S. com- 
panies want to be serious players in the 



international arena, some environmen- 
talists argue, adopting green manage- 
ment principles is the best way to re- 
gain our competitive edge. "The United 
States doesn't have to lose thirty per- 
cent of our business to lose the edge; 
we can lose five percent," says John 
Hoffman, director of the EPA's Division 
of Global Change. "We've got to make 
savings if we want to accrue capital; 
we'll need new money to invest if we 
want to be competitive in world mar- 
kets. Japan and Germany use half the 
energy that the United States does to 
achieve the same productivity." 

Of course, EPA officials understand 
that a complex array of carrots and 
sticks will be required to persuade in- 
dustrial interests of the fiscal wisdom of 
eschewing their wanton ways. In addi- 
tion to programs like Green Lights to 
encourage con- —jJC servation, the 
EPA is author- J& ized under the 
Clean Air and ^V* Clean Water 
acts to penalize "dirty" companies. "In- 
dustry must realize that it's bad busi- 



ness to be dirty," says Eileen Claussen, 
director of the EPA's Office of Atmos- 
pheric and Indoor Air Programs. More 
to the point, industry's getting the mes- 
sage loud and clear: There's money to 
be made by cleaning up its act. 

"Being green will increase sales be- 
cause there is a growing distinction in 
the public mind jjf between 'dirt- 
ies' and the «j«P true greens," 
Claussen says. W Pollution preven- 
tion, she says, means energy efficien- 
cy: Companies can save money by sav- 
ing energy. "It's cheaper to clean up 
sooner rather than later, and it's cheap- 
est to reengineer to prevent the mess 
in the first place," she says. 

Alisa Gravitz, executive director of Co- 
op America, a nonprofit green consum- 
er advocacy group based in Washing- 
ton, DC, calls for "a seat on the board 
for Mother Nature." Environmental inter- 
ests should be on the table, represent- 
ed in business decisions. This tenet of 
green management is known as stake- j 
holder management, 



Steve Schueth, 
vice president for 
Socially Responsi- 
ble Investing at the ' 
Calvert Group, 
says, "When mak- J 
ing a decision in \ 
the boardroom, all 
stakeholders must be 
considered, not just 
management or share- 
holders." Who i 



tine stakeholders? Employees, the com- 
munity, the planei. "Each should be con- 
sidered without preference. By doing 
this, management will make better, 
less volatile decisions." 

Some of the companies Schueth 
sees as appropriate for his investors at 
first glance may not seem typical eco- 
minded operations. For instance, 
Schueth says, Clorox is a "strong envi- 
ronmental company." Surprised? Take 
a closer look. "Bleach is not particular- 
ly tonic," Schueth says. "Its production, 
however, has a very toxic by-product, 
chlorine gas." But Clorox has a state-of- 
the-art system to treat this gas, and an 
emergency resoonse system to protect 
employees and the community. Accord- 
ing to Schueth, Clorox's record is 
good, it's consumer friendly, and it sup- 
ports the community and education. 

Green consumers, an increasingly vis- 
ible and voluble group, actively seek 
out goods produced by ecology-mind- 
ed companies. Newman says that cus- 
tomers want to do business with a cor- 
poration that has a set of social values, 
and they will choose products based on 
a company's track record. Amie Koss, 
cofounder of Earth's Best, says that the 
baby food industry is a prime example 
of a business offering a great opportu- 
nity to tap into the sensibility of the 
green consumer. 



"We felt thai il we did tilings -ignt and 
weren't just hype, just a marketing la- 
cade, we would be appreciated." And 
the company has inspired a great deal 
of brand loyalty among its customers: 
"They see us as a company that's dif- 
■erei!', and they actually want us to suc- 
ceed. What we enjoy out there in the 
marketplace is that most prized re- 
source: goodwill." 

Advocacy groups such as Co-O'p 
America are making it increasingly dif- 
ficult for "dirty" companies that won't 
comply with green guidelines, by spur- 
ring on the public to economic activism. 
Consumers must realize that what they 
do in the supermarket does make a dif- 
ference. 

"People feel it's hard as an individual 
to do anything," says William Burns, di- 
rector of environmental affairs at Earth 
Care Paper. "Green consumerism is a 
means of individual empowerment." 
Consumers can effect corporate 
change: Look at Starkist, which intro- 
duced "dolphin-free" tuna, and Mc- 
Donald's, which agreed to discontinue 
oo ystyrene packaging. 

"Companies are bound to sit up and 
listen if they want to stay competitive. " 
says Gravitz. "When a dollar leaves 
your hand, it goes to companies that 
are either doing work you support or 
undoing work you support. You need to 



make that distinction in your mind and 
purchase accordingly." 

Green Consumerism, however, does 
not come without its price. Many Earth- 
friendly products are 5. 10, up to 25 per- 
cent more expensive than their non- 
green counterparts. A jar of Earth's 
Best carrots costs 59 cejits, about 25 
cents more than those of nonorganic 
competitors. "Today many people live 
paycheck to paycheck; they aren't in a 
position to pay out a lot of extra mon- 
ey," says Jeffrey Wellman, manager of 
How On Earth. 

Wellman says the store is looking at 
ways "to make our products more read- 
ily available to lower-income people. 
We're considering a deferred payment 
plan or setting aside one percent of our 
profits to assist people who otherwise 
wouldn't be able to shop here," 

Some green products can actually 
be had lor fewer greenbacks. Although 
initially these items appear to cost 
more, they cost less, and in some cas- 
es will even pay for themselves, over 
time. How On Earth sells a small box 
of concentrated laundry detergent. Al- 
though it costs more than the same 
size box at the supermarket, at only 
three tablespoons per load the small 
box will do 48 loads but costs the 
same as a large supermarket box that 
will do only 15. 



Lfi&T KtfWT AT KELLY5 



U&>-plrTomst) 




Seldane® 









While some green products offer mod- 
est savings to consumers, some can rep- 
resent huge cost cuts for high-volume 
business customers. For instance, the 
EPA is trying to persuade big compa- 
nies to install more efficient lighting. 
"They can save $21.50 per socket, per 
year by replacing conventional bulbs 
with compact fluorescents," says 
Hoffman, who directs the EPA's Green 
Lights program. "For a company with 
several thousand employees, three or 
four sockets per employee, we're talk- 
ing about tens of thousands of dollars 
saved every year." 

The EPA has made believers of 
more than 41 companies, including 
heavy hitters like Bell Atlantic, Citicorp, 
and Nike, and it hopes to turn on For- 
tune 500 corporations to green lighting. 
"Green products equal high-value prod- 
ucts," says Hoffman. "There might be 
a higher initial cost, but we're talking 
about value purchasing over a life cy- 
cle." The EPA hopes that corporate hon- 
chos will see the light and introduce 
green principles elsewhere in their com- 
panies. "It's simple," Hoffman says. 
"Green marketing is consistent with high- 
value marketing. The smart companies 
are no longer going to make the envi- 
ronment a separate issue." 

Beckwith figures that cleaning up the 
environment is going to be increasingly 
big business. "The United States is 
spending a hundred billion dollars an- 
nually on the environment," he says. 
"Most reports expect that to double in 
the next ten years." And the major eco- 
logical problems are not going to go 
away anytime soon. "The companies 
we're investing in are resilient, their ser- 
vices are always in demand: Water is 
indispensable, garbage needs to be dis- 
posed of daily there'll always be a 
need for alternative energy," he says. 

Schueth argues that Calvert does not 
consider "dirty" industries to be attrac- 
tive investments. "Our investors don't 
want to have to pay for a company's 
cleaning up its past mistakes, or for com- 
pletely retooling so it doesn't make sim- 
ilar ones in the future," Schueth says. 
Delving into a company's soiled envi- 
ronmental past makes for a lot more 
work — "ten times the usual man-hours 
researching prospective companies," 
Schueth says. "But obviously, there are 
real practical benefits from looking at 
both how the company is managed and 
its possible impact on the environment. 
We look at a double bottom line." 

As to the future of green products, 
W. David Stephenson, a management 
consultant specializing in green issues, 
forecasts, "We're going to abandon the 
concept of planned obsolescence. Any 
consumer back out in the marketplace 
won't necessarily buy your product 
again, especially if it broke down after 
a year: He can choose another compa- 
ny's product." 



Stephenson foresees the develop- 
ment of modular appliances, with plug- 
in features that can be updated and cus- 
tomized. Take, for instance, a refriger- 
ator that people buy once in maybe 15 
years. If that refrigerator were made of 
modular units — plug-in shelves that 
could be customized, an in-door ice- 
maker that could be updated every 
five years — companies could continue 
to make money off the original refriger- 
ator. "This will develop system loyalty," 
Stephenson says. "And it should be an 
open system, sort of like computer soft- 
ware and camera lenses; third-party ven- 
dors will be able to use your add-ons." 

Where cost is concerned, Gravitz pre- 
dicts, some prices will come down: Prod- 
ucts will be made of simpler and fewer 
materials and have less packaging. Pric- 
es for nongreen products, however, 
may actually increase. 

"There will be more cradle-to-grave 
analysis to determine the true cost of a 
product," she says. "If we want to be 
truthful to consumers, we'll have to 
start internalizing the presently external- 
ized costs — the cost of cleaning up 
CFC pollulion'will be included in the 
price of polystyrene containers — and 
that will cause prices to rise." Finally, 
as demand increases, new technolo- 
gies for recycling will be discovered, 
more companies will produce green 
products, and prices will fall. 

If the experts are correct, green busi- 
nesses will do -increasingly well in the 
future. Gravitz says that as the popula- 
tion declines, "companies will be chas- 
ing after fewer customers and fewer 
sales; they will have to get really sav- 
vy, and the green companies will have 
an edge." As with prospective custom- 
ers, so, too, with potential employees. 
"With the diminishing of the baby 
boom, the current employers' market 
will become an employees' market," 
she says. "Job applicants will question 
corporate policy, and companies will 
face stiff competition for the best and 
the brightest." , 

Business has to make a change be- 
cause time is running out, and we'll 
soon be facing a point of no return. 
Arnie Koss insists that companies 
must lead the way "It is essential for 
business today to be responsible, not 
just to the bottom line — that's one-dimen- 
sional — but to the added bottom tine, 
the one that considers how we can im- 
prove the environment." 

Fortunately, we won't have to rely on 
the altruism of business. American 
companies are beginning to under- 
stand that green business is belter busi- 
ness. Burns says Earth Care Paper is 
a "perfect example that you can make 
money and spread the gospel. We're a 
company that spends money on issues, 
and is doing very well." Koss's summa- 
tion? "You can do the right thing— and 
be very successful." DO 




. 



In 1869 t'ic? R' nsn economist and journalist 
Walter Bagshot published a pamphlet 
called "The Assirri.afcon o! the English and 
American Money as a Step toward a Uni- 
versal Money." 

"Commerce is everywhere identical," he 
wrote 122 years ago. "Buying and selling, 
lending and borrowing, are alike all the 
world over, and all matters concerning 
them ought universal- 



ni 



ly to be alike too. 
Ultimately the world 
will see one Code 
de Commerce, and 
one money as the 
symbol of it," 

Bagehot's "world 
economy" consist- 
ed primarily of Amer- 
ica and Europe. 
And in Bagehot's 
time there were no 
airplanes, no tele- 
phones, no comput- 
ers, and no fax ma- 
chines to bridge in- 
ternational time 
zones and 
challen- 
ge the 
ability 
of na- 
tions to 
control 
their own 
economies. 
Yet his argu- 
ments for 
a universal 
currency 
closely resemble those being advanced 
today for a single European or an even 
more global currency. Proponents say that 
such a currency would: 
• encourage small businesses that lack exper- 
tise in dealing with fluctuating exchange 
rates to enter international markets; 
•eliminate fees paid by consumers and 
businesses whenever currency is converted; 



• promote worldwide trade, investment, and 
job creation by cushioning businesses and 
nations against the uncertainties caused by 
unpredictable exchange rates. 

In the last decades of the twentieth cen- 
tury we have seen the arrival of a global 
economy and such widespread accep- 
tance of the dollar that some even call i 
an "international currency." This has oc- 
curred despite 



ARTICLE BY ELLEN HOFFMAN 

Today's money changing 

is slowed by multiple monetary 

systems. Are we ready for 



HUE 
» 




fund 
mental 
chan- 
ges in 
world 
currency 
syste 

from the gold-back- 
ed dollar to the float- 
ing currency we 
have today. Major 
economic powers 
have struggled to es- 
tablish systems for 
cushioning their 
economies against 
fluctuations in ex- 
change rates. And 
on a global level, 
many nations link 
the value of their 
own currencies to 
the value of others, 
such as the French 
franc or the U.S. dol- 
lar. Yet most inde- 
pendent nations — 
except for a few that 
belong to currency 
unions — continue to 
issue their own currencies and use them with- 
in their borders. Development of communi 
cations and more efficient transport have 
spawned not only global products 
that are manufac- 
tured in one coun- 
try, assembled 
in another and 
sold in a third, 



but also breathtakingly last movements 
of money around the globe, from one 
country to another, one industry to an- 
other, and one currency to another. 

In such a "small" world, an econom- 
ic or political change — a hike in oil pric- 
es, for example — can have an instant 
global ripple" effect. Economists say 
that in this situation the existence of mul- 
tiple currencies — especially "floating" 
currencies whose relative values are con- 
stantly in flux— can dampen foreign in- 
vestment and trade as well as the 
growth of employment opportunities 
and consumers' choices among prod- 
ucts and prices. 

Despite the theoretical benefits it 
might offer, creation of a universal cur- 
' rency is far from commanding the atten- 
tion of economists or world political lead- 
ers in the Nineties. But interest in "the 
concept of at least reducing the num- 
ber of world currencies has been height- 
ened by the European Community's 
(EC) drive to establish its own curren- 
cy to maximize the advantages of the 
"single market" scheduled to go into ef- 
fect in 1992. 

Imagine this: At the foreign exchange 
counter al Kennedy International Air- 
port, you cash in dollars for traveler's 
checks and a pocketful of coins and 
bills, both denominated -in -European Cur- 
rency Units, or ecus. With) this money 



you breakfast on coffee and croissants 
in Paris, purchase stamps and post- 
cards in Rome, and settle your hotel 
bill in Amsterdam. You do not watch 
your travel budget being frittered away 
by commissions required to change 
your dollars into francs, your francs in- 
to lira, or lira into guilders. The ecu is 
not just a fantasy. It's not used in the 
cafes of Paris and not traded in foreign 
exchange markets, but a European cur- 
rency called the ecu does already ex- 
ist. It is used primarily for financial trans- 
actions and for keeping accounts 
among the EC's member countries. 

The existing ecu has not replaced 
the traditional currencies of the 12 na- 
tions of the EC; in fact, its value is set 
by a formula that takes into account the 
relative values of the German mark, the 
French franc, and the currencies of the 
other ten EC members, making it less 
volatile than any individual currency. 

But the approach of the 1 992 dead- 
line for a single market free of physical, 
technical, and financial barriers to 
trade, and the concept that "one mar- 
ket needs one money," have intensified 
interest in resiruciunn^ the monetary sys- 
tem and creating a new European cur- 
rency that would be used throughout 
the EC — not in addition to, but instead 
of the national currencies — and that 
would be accepted globally. (If the EC 



agreed on a new currency, it would not 
necessarily be called the ecu.) 

What is the significance of the move 
to create a single European currency? 
Is a common currency necessary for 
free trade? Do we really need a global 
currency? Is it desirable? Could it hap- 
pen in our lifetime? How could it hap- 
pen? Who would issue the currency? 
Would individual nations have to give 
up their sovereignty? 

Proponents of the single currency— 
which would be a feature of a unified 
monetary system— say it would elimi- 
nate inefficiency and the expense of ex- 
change transactions, contribute to eco- 
nomic and price stability by removing 
uncertainties about variations in ex- 
change rates, and increase Europe's 
ability to compete against the United 
States and Japan. 

Great Britain, the only member of the 
EC to raise serious objections, has sug- 
gested that giving up the pound ster- 
ling would mean relinquishing its nation- 
al sovereignty, and has proposed in- 
stead that the EC create a thirteenth 
currency that would compete with the 
other 12. Other questions are primarily 
technical, related to the search for a 
way to link the economies of 12 coun- 
tries that have different rates of inflation, 
living standards, deficits, and interest 
rates without exacerbating, instead of 







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resolving, economic hardships. These 
sorts of issues, raised by the current ne- 
gotiations on European economic uni- 
ty, would also arise in the event of a 
movement to create a global currency. 

Prospects for a truly global currency 
seem so far-out to most economists and 
even to futurists that there are no 
■well-developed plans or proposals for 
creating one. Even the World Federal- 
ist Association, which advocates "po- 
litical and economic integration on the 
world level," has not focused on the cur- 
rency issue because, according to 
field director Scott Hoffman, "it could 
happen only as a by-product' 1 of a 
world government. 

Some economists and politicians 
who have looked into the future, how- 
ever, see the outlines not of a global cur- 
rency, but of a common currency for the 
major economic powers — the United 
States, Europe, and Japan — and any oth- 
ers that might want to tag along. 

For instance, this proposal surfaced 
in the British magazine The Economist 
a few months after the October 1987 
Stock market crash: "Thirty years from 
now, Americans, Japanese, Europeans, 
and people in many other rich countries 
and some relatively poor countries will 
probably be paying for their shopping 
with the same currency . . . let's say the 
phoenix. The phoenix will be favored by 
companies and shoppers because it 
will be more convenient than today's na- 
tional currencies, which by then will 
see'm a quaint cause of much disrup- 
tion to economic life in the late twenti- 
eth century." 

Admitting that their readers might 
have found the idea "outlandish" 
when it was proposed in 1 988, the edi- 
tors endorsed the proposal again in 
1990, observing that "the new momen- 
tum towards European monetary union 
has put the world somewhat ahead of 
schedule" in moving toward a common 
currency for the industrial countries. 

No group has put the proposal for 
a "phoenix zone" on a negotiating ta- 
ble. But the underlying concept remains 
alive — in fact, it garnered some at- 
tention before the article appeared in 
The Economist 

For example, Richard N. Cooper, a 
Harvard University economist who 
served as under secretary of state for 
economic affairs in the Carter admini- 
stration, published in the early Eighties 
a proposal for a common currency for 
the industrial democracies, calling it 
'loo radical for the near future" and sug- 
gesting that it serve as a "vision" or 
goal for the longer term. 

One reason proponents of a more 
global currency are so cautious about 
their predictions is that creating a 
viable currency involves more than 
just minting coins or printing paper 
bills. According to Cooper, having a 
common currency implie 



monetary policy and an internaiional 
mechanism to determine thai policy — 
a centra! bank to produce and control 
the money supply. The economists in- 
terviewed for this article say that the 
toughest barriers to be overcome are 
political, not economic. 

Says Gary Hufbauer, a Georgetown 
University economist who is an author- 
ity on European unification: "A common 
currency is the last stage of a lot of 
other integration that should take 
place first — freeing up trade, making 
migration easier, reconciling technical 
standards." When these preliminary 
steps have been taken, he says, you 
could get a ground swell. "At that 
point people will ask: Why are we deal- 
ing with all of these different curren- 
cies?" he says. 

Because currency is produced by 
governments, which use it to enshrine 
their kings and queens and presidents 
and symbols of them, it is sometimes 
assumed that a world currency could 
exist only if nations gave up their sov- 
ereign rights. But Bagehot. Cooper, and 
the editorial board of The Economist, 
among others, all argue thai although 
difficult, it might be possible to create 
a supranational monetary system and 
common currency and still allow nations 
to control their ntemal po itical, budg- 
etary, and taxation policies. 

Contemporary examples of this ap- 
proach exist in Africa, where there are 
two monetary unions, each consisting 
of several independent nations whose 
currencies are pegged to the French 
franc; and in Europe, where Luxem- 
bourg accepts the Belgian franc as le- 
gal tender, although the policy is not 
reciprocated by all Belgians. 

Cooper points out that in a monetary 
union of the major industrial democra- 
cies, each nation could even continue 
to print its own currency — with its own 
political symbols — as long as the val- 
ue of the currency was set by the inter- 
national system. 

In the United States, 50 states share 
a currency and a monetary policy that 
controls the flow of money; yet curren- 
cy is issued by 12 different Federal Re- 
serve banks, and each state manages 
its own fiscal or internal budget policy. 
A similar model may be emerging in Eu- 
rope, where a regional bank or other au- 
thority would issue the currency and con- 
trol its supply, while each country 
would retain control of its fiscal policy. 

Estimates of how long it will take to 
establish a European currency — and 
whether it really will happen — vary wide- 
ly. During 1991, finance ministers of the 
EC are meeting as part of the first 
stage (determining how the basic char- 
ter, the Treaty of Rome, would have to 
be amended) of a three-stage process 
designed to lead to a single currency. 
In the second stage, the EC would cre- 
ate a central bank to work with the cen- 

55 



tral banks of member nations toward 
stage three; irrevocably locked ex- 
change rates and then, a single curren- 
cy. But regardless of how long it may 
take, scenarios for a common curren- 
cy of the industrialized democracies 
seem to assume that adoption of a sin- 
gle European currency would be a 
step toward, and perhaps even a pre- 
requisite for, creating a broader curren- 
cy union involving Europe, the United 
States or North America, and Japan. 

Whether this type of union implies a 
leap to a global currency is another mat- 
ter. "The sine qua nor for a common 
currency must be a common defense 
arrangement so that the countries are 
not going to fight each other, but are 
going to defend each other," says 
Robert Mundell, an economist at Colum- 
bia University, who suggests that a com- 
mon language and culture are also im- 
portant bases for monetary union. 

"If the world consisted of five hun- 
dred nations of ten million people 
each and we didn't have a big China, 
a powerful United States, and a Soviet 
Union, we'd inevitably have to have a 
world currency," he says. But as long 
as there are supereconomies, he spec- 
ulates, it's more likely that world trade 
will rely on several major currencies. 

Even the proliferation of free trade 
zones, economists say, does not nec- 
essarily imply use of a common curren- 



cy, fn his book Megatrends 2000, 
John Naisbitt declares that there is "a 
big, powerful, overarching megatrend 
. . . toward worldwide free trade," cit- 
ing as examples accords between the 
United States and Canada; the pend- 
ing United States-Mexico pact; the Aus- 
tralia-New Zealand free trade agree- 
ment reviewed in 1988; and the possi- 
bility that a Brazil-Argentina agreement 
could eventually form the nucleus of a 
South American common market. 

He forecasts a "linkup of North Amer- 
ica, Europe, and Japan to form a gold- 
en triangle of free trade" in the next cen- 
tury, but does not go on to predict that 
such trading blocs might merge their cur- 
rencies, let alone forge a global curren- 
cy system. 

"There is no necessary connection be- 
tween a free trade area and a common 
currency area," Cooper says. Explains 
Ralph C. Bryant, an economist at the 
Brookings Institution; "There's not an 
epsilon of a suggestion that the Cana- 
dian dollar or the Mexican peso 
should be pegged to the U.S. dollar." 

Bryant, who emphasizes that he is 
not an active advocate of a global cur- 
rency, does support closer internation- 
al economic cooperation. "Rather than 
pulling back from financial interdepend- 
ence," he says, national governments 
should increase "multilateral decision 
making"- by paying greater attention to 




the effects of (heir economic decisions 
on other nations, and strengthening in- 
ternational organizations. 

Asked to speculate about how and 
whether a world currency might evolve 
by the year 2050, Bryant said that, as- 
suming that "integration of markets has 
proceeded over the decades at the 
same pace as it has in recent dec- 
ades," preconditions for establishing 
the currency would include "a greatly 
strengthened global linancial institution, 
a truly international legislative organiza- 
tion, and a level of international cooper- 
ation higher than in the Nineties." 

It's difficult to know whether the cre- 
ation of a global currency will take its 
place on the iriternai'onal agenda in our 
lifetime. The pace and surprise of eco- 
nomic and political developments just 
in the last two years- -the thawing of the 
Cold War and the eruption of war in the 
Middle East— make economists and 
futurists wary of predicting even a dec- 
ade ahead, let alone two or three or 
five decades. 

What remains clear is that powerful 
forces are propelling the world further 
down the road of economic interdepend- 
ence, that political institutions increas- 
ingly need to catch up, and that any 
country which assumes it can insulate 
itself from the world economic system 
and still prosper faces the risk of be- 
coming an anachronism. 

Futurist Alvin Toffler has written that 
the rise of "global gladiators" — his 
term for multinational corporations and 
other border-crossing forces, such as 
the environmental movement — has gen- 
erated momentum for "all sorts of new 
global institutions." But whether one of 
these should be a new international mon- 
etary structure with a world currency, or 
whether some other alternative — such 
as returning to a system of fixed ex- 
change rates— would be equally effec- 
tive in promoting stability and deterring 
unwanted economic aurorses, is still be- 
ing debated. 

For one thing, as Cooper points out, 
the communications technology that 
has propelled us toward global econom- 
ic interpedendence has — by allowing 
for worldwide, instant currency transac- 
tions — made managing and manipulat- 
ing the world's many money systems in- 
creasingly easier. 

For the moment, given the existence 
of few economic superpowers and the 
formidable issues surrounding achieve- 
ment of a world order based on more 
equitable power sharing, for all but the 
most futuristic thinkers, the basic ques- 
tion about whether to strive for an in- 
ternational currency is likely to remain; 
In a world where we can beat our dol- 
lars into Deutsche marks and our 
Deutsche marks into yen by issuing a 
simple command through the phone or 
the modem, have we already — de fac- 
to — created a global currency? DO 




The man in front of you 
catches your attention — he 
flourishes one of those fan- 



Probably a El .,. 
those supers are handy for 



mention ID and cross-bor- 
der qovernrr, 



placed by cards, " they say. 
But you also notice that 
the man is being entirely too 
open, smiling at the clerk 
and making no effort to con- 
ceal the number he s punch- 
ing into the verification pad 



signed the ™» 

That's why you're shop- 
ping in tl 



that and they give you gen- 

■ late-h 
shopper discount , 
your card. And if there are 
hoodlums in the parking lot, 
they generally ignore you if 
you're not wearing gold or 
furs, 
armed 

body carrhes it. It's the ; 
ing faces you have tc 
y of.... 



use by 1996. By 2006 
[smart cards] should be pret- 
ty much the 



identification number{PIN). 
But while an ATM's PIN sim- 
ply identifies your account 
number, a ~ 



the elaborate little rituals 
that accompany spending 



change 

are anybody's guess, its 
agent is already at hand in 
the form of devices known 



pie will do for that number? A smart card has the 

True, there happens to be same profile as plastic cred- 

"-- 'ooking at the mo- it or automatic teller ma- 
rt the papers are 

filled with accounts of "peo- n 

pie hackers" and their "so- lettering oni 

cial engineering" who try to familiar magnetic stripe on 

chat with you, make friends its back. But embedded in 

with you, mislead you, se- smart cards' slightly thicker 

duce you — anything to get bodies, sealed within the 

you to blurt out your smart same resin coating that 

card's access code. Or, bar- shields military satellite 

ring that, to learn enough chips against prying, are mi- 



The 15-y 
the age of the smart card is 
not a guess but rather a cal- 
culation made by Jerome 
Svigals of Redwood City, 

flnltlni-nic. on InHiictfy COn - 



ments. "It — 
years — from 1965 
1980— for the first st 
dard magnetic stri| 
cards to be accepted by the 
major credit card compa- 
nies," Svigals says. "From 
1980 to 1990 about 1.1 oil- 



years to put everything inlo 
place, followed by a '" " 
during which a us 
built. "We're now 
years into the initial build- 

up,- m 



"For strange and un- 
n reasons, the United 
States is not taking up the 
technology," says Stephen 



Palo Alto, Californi; 

publ 

Monthly. 

Actually, the technology 
is arriving here fro 
"it directions. Sm 

sre developed in Fi 



part of a drive to i 



POCKETFUL 



MIRACLES 



ARTICLE 
LAMONT WOC 



V-ASH 

AND CREDIT CARDS 

WILL SOON 

BE OBSOLETE. BUT HOW 

BRAINY 

ARE THE NEW SMART 

CARDS? 

ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANDY ZITO 





csrds. I he French could elim- 
inate the cost of collecting 
coins from pay phones. 
The technology has since 
been adopted by the tele- 
phone systems in Japan 
and much of the rest of \Afest- 
ern Europe. 

(In Japan, brightly deco- 
rated phone cards are com- 
monly handed out as retail 
premiums. Phone cards are 
even given as wedding 
gifts, decorated yvith pic- 
tures of the happy couple. 
A collector's market has 
emerged, with phone 
cards sought as avidly as 
baseball cards.) 

The lack of a central tele- 
phone company in the 
United States stymied a 
French attempt to export 
the technology here during 
the Eighties. Nor did the 
vast American credit card 
companies embrace the 
technology. 

"Three years ago. we de- 
cided it was too expensive 
to replace [existing) credit 
cards," says Larry La- 
douceur, MasterCard Inter- 
national's vice president of 



advanced technology. Be- 
tween the autumn of 1985 
and the autumn of 1987, 
MasterCard tested about 
60,000 smart cards in 
Palm Beach, Florida, and 
in Columbia, Maryland. 
Smart cards, says La- 
douceur, were found to be 
a couple of orders of mag- 
nitude more reliable than 
ATM cards, whose magnet- 
ic stripes can be affected 
by magnets. No change in 
spending habits resulted 
from the introduction of the 
smart cards, "We are still 
looking at the technology 
■very carefully," Ladouceur 
says. "You never know 
when a breakthrough is go- 
ing to come," 

Visa, meanwhile, is cur- 
rently testing about 3,000 
"Supersmart Cards" in Ja- 
pan, according to Visa 
spokesperson David Bran- 
coli. Supersmart Cards are 
essentially encryption de- 
vices will three-year batter- 
ies. A keypad on the card 
enables its use whether or 
not a merchant has a com- 
puter terminal. The user sim- 



ply authorizes a transaction 
via the card's keypad; the 
card itself verifies that the 
amount is availabie, produc- 
ing an authorization num- 
ber that the merchant can 
use to receive payment, 
much as he would with a 
handwritten check. 

The potential inherent in 
such a card calls for the ad- 
dition of other services. Bran- 
coli expects to see banks 
issue smart cards that do 
far more than handle ac- 
count balances. Still, it will 
be a while before tradition- 
al cards are replaced. "Hun- 
dreds of millions of dollars 
have been invested in read- 
ers for magnetic stripes," 
Brancoli says, "and there is 
no business case for mass 
conversion. But we contin- 
ue to support activities that 
would allow a gradual evo- 
lution to smart cards," 

One place smart cards 
may catch on quickly is at 
the supermarket. Stores 
might issue "club cards" to 
customers, who can use 
them to collect electronic 
coupons, earn frequent- 



OME SMART CARDS WERE 



shopper points, and author- 
ize purchases. The custom- 
ers get added conven- 
ience; the stores get mail- 
ing lists and shopper pref- 
erence information, some- 
thing most of them have 
never had. Ambitious pilot 
projects are under way in 
Columbus, Ohio, and Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Another party looking 
hard at smart cards is the 
federal government, John 
Moore, "co-chairman of the 
Federal Smartcard User 
Group and a computer an- 
alyst at the Financial Man- 
agement Service of the 
U.S. Department of the 
Treasury, was involved in a 
recent survey that turned 
up 34 smart card programs 
at the federal and state lev- 
els. While many of these pro- 
grams serve accounting pur- 
poses — such as tracking 
gas station records — 
about 40 percent involve 
electronic benefit transfers 
(EBTs), 

Atypical EBT application 
replaces food stamps with 
magnetic striped cards 



THANKS FOR THE MEMORY 



First cousin to the smart 
card, memory cards offer 
more power, more storage, 
more versatility — and may 
face an even longer accep- 
tance curve before reach- 
ing consumers. 

If a smart card can be 
thought of as a sophisti- 
cated and more capable 
credit card, memory cards 
are more akin to pocket 
calculators. 

"Memory cards are thick- 
er [than smart cards] and 
have the ability to retain 
memory like a hard disc or 
floppy disc," says Ian Irv- 
ing, national sales manag- 
er of the battery products 
division of Maxell Corpora- 
tion. "You can transfer da- 
ta to the card, program the 
card, use it essentially as 
a very durable, very mobile 
data and software storage 
device." 

Memory cards, says Irv- 
ing, offer particular advan- 
tages over other storage me- 
dia. "This is a very robust 
medium," he says. "A mem- 
ory card can survive in an 
environment where a floppy 
disc would face problems. 
Extremes of weather and 
temperature do not affect 
memory cards as they do 
floppy discs." 

Some of the applications 
for memory cards put even 
the most durable media to 
stringent tests. Irving cites 
factory environments as ide- 
al for memory card usage, 
"Think about an automatic 
lathe installation," he sug- 
gests, "You could store the 
lathe's program on a mem- 
ory card, then toss the 
card into the bin with the 
finished, machined parts. 
When the bfh is empty, 
there's the card, ready to 
be used in the lathe once 
more," 



Memory cards are al- 
ready beginning to find fa- 
vor in the computer indus- 
try. Because a memory 
card has no moving parts, 
and eliminates the need for 
a bulky disc drive, the tech- 
nology is playing a part in 
decreasing the weight of 
notebook computers. 

Not all of the applica- 
tions are so prosaic. Keith 
Watanabe, technical rep- 
resentative for memory 
cards at Maxell, points out 
that memory cards offer 
one of the fastest data ac- 
cess times in the world. 
That speed can come in 
handy in the world of auto 
racing, where data record- 
ed on the track during the 
race can be dumped al- 
most instantly during a pit 
stop, saving vital seconds 
for the pit crew to make 
necessary adjustments to 
the car. 

While smart cards are 
considered in many ways 
to be disposable, memory 
cards have a longer life. A 
smart card, for example, 
might be electronically 
charged with a certain val- 
ue, which is reduced each 
time the card is used. 
When the card's value is 
used up, it's simply thrown 
away. 

Memory cards, on the oth- 
er hand, are designed to 
last. The card's internal 
memory is battery-backed, 
with battery life determined 
by the card's, memory ca- 
pacity, "Depending on the 
amount of storage," says Irv- 
ing, "memory cards have a 
battery life of two to five 
years." The battery is re- 
placeable, 

Because they're more so- 
phisticated, memory cards 
are more expensive to pro- 
duce than smart cards. "At 



the moment," Irving says, 
"cost of media is one of the 
things, standing in the way 
of widespread acceptance 
of memory cards." Produc- 
tion cost is directly related 
to the card's capacity. 

A memory card costs 
from$10toS2,000, depend- 
ing on the type of card mem- 
ory and its capacity. The 
smallest memory cards of- 
fer about 10K of memory, 
while the largest can store 
eight or more megabytes of 
information. 

"Naturally," Irving says, 
"the cost of memory will de- 
crease with increased use 
of the technology." 

The cards' high degree 
of storage capacity — the 
equivalent of hundreds of 
typewritten pages of dafa — 
is, Irving believes, the fac- 
tor that will ultimately lead 
to widespread adoption of 
memory cards. Credit card 
companies, he points oul, 
are already offering more 
and more services, adding 
more and more value to 
their cards. "As this trend 
continues," Irving says, 
"the credit card companies 
will need to access more da- 
ta from each card. Memory 
cards should offer an effec- 
tive solution." 

There's another advan- 
tage to the cards. Memory 
cards disseminate data to 
individuals rather than stor- 
ing it in central databanks. 
"For example, each custom- 
er of a video store," Irving 
says, "would carry his own 
records with him at all 
times. While the initial cost 
to the store might be high- 
er for the cards themselves, 
the long-term costs could 
be lower because you've 
eliminated the need for a 
central computer." 

— Patric Hellmaan 



BITTEN TO DEATH BY U.S. MARINES. 



that require online authorization — the 
card reader is connected by telephone 
lines to a central databank. A pilot pro- 
gram involving "off-line" smart cards is 
scheduled to begin this fall in Dayton, 
Ohio; because the smart cards carry 
their information with them, the bene- 
fits transfers can be accomplished with- 
out costly long-distance telephone hook- 
ups. Organizers of the project hope 
smart cards will reduce thB telecommu- 
nications overhead and also allow E8T 
use in places not reached by phone. 

There's only one place in the United 
States where smart cards have re- 
placed cash: the Parris Island Marine 
Corps Recruit Depot in South Carolina, 
Jennie Flietner. comptroller of the post 
exchange, says the PX made the 
move to smart cards in 1987 to elim- 
inate the drill instructors' nightly cash 
inventory for each recruit, Now there are 
as many as 6,500 smart cards circulat- 
ing through Parris Island at one time. 

According to Flietner, no cards or 
PINs have been stolen since the pro- 
gram began. Recruits are told to give 
one another privacy when punching in 
their PINs. The biggest problem has 
been the marines' tendency, their 
hands full as they stand in line, to hold 
the cards in their mouths. Some cards 
have been bitten to death. 

Pilot projects and test introductions 



do not a national smart card program 
make. That lack of national consensus 
and direction may come back to haunt 
us— in the form of several cards doing 
what a single one could do as well. 

"The advantage of plastic cards is 
marketing," says Svigals, "and no one 
who issues one is ever going to share 
it. You'll be dealing with a lot of indus- 
tries — banks, airlines,, supermarkets— 
and they'll see no reason to share." ' 

And so, rummaging through all the 
cards in your wallet, you get to the coun- 
ter and plop down the pills your doctor 
prescribed after you had that incident 
while watching President Ouayle's inau- 
gural address. The pharmacist had rou- 
tinely scanned your health insurance 
smart card to check the prescription 
against the list it contains of other 
drugs you've been dispensed, looking 
for duplications or contraindications. 
None came up, but the pharmacist 
would be liable if she didn't check. 

You give a card to the clerk — and he 
looks quizzical. Oh— that's your high- 
definition VCR program smart card— it 
stores the settings you like and saves 
you from having to read the 300-page 
manual. You fish through your wallet for 
the right card. The clerk swipes it and 
casually eyes the digitized picture of 
you that the card just put up on his 



screen. Despite all the jokes, no one 
pays much attention to your smart 
card picture — what matters is that you 
have the PIN. You huddle over the key- 
pad, not wanting to be seen, but want- 
ing to get the number right — after 
three failures the card locks up and you 
have to take it back to the bank. 

But you get it right and the cash draw- 
er unnecessarily plops open— it's an old- 
er point-of-sale terminal and can't help 
itself. The clerk warily eyes the contents 
before shutting it. There're some bills in 
there. The day is almost over and 
there's money in there that someone 
will have to do something with. The 
boss won't like that. 

"Here — would you like some mon- 
ey?" he asks, awkwardly holding out 
some of the greenbacks. "We'll sell 
them to you on your card. " 

You find yourself eyeing the pieces 
of paper — you'd forgotten there'd 
been another President Jackson. The 
clerk is still waiting. But he doesn't of- 
fer any discount. "Oh, no thanks, " you 
stammer. He looks disappointed. You 
get your package and trudge Into the 
cold. But your mind is still on those 
greenbacks. Pieces of paper treated as 
if they had value simply because they 
had pictures and numbers printed on 
them, you muse. 

What an odd idea.... DO 



OFFICE: 2020 



She took a sip and picked up the faulty 
sensor that had ruined her plans for 
New Year's Eve. Finding it in the early 
hours had tested her ability to stay 
awake as much as her analytical skills. 
Both came with the territory. Con Ed's 
program was supposed to give interns 
hands-on responsibility, and this ex- 
perience certainly fit that category. 

As Rachel dictated, she pictured Joe 
Scanlon's reaction to her story. The main- 
tenance supervisor's veiled skepticism 
about her abilities had been proved 
wrong, She'd shown him! But her party 
dress was hanging in the closet, and 
here she was in jeans and sneakers 
with just a robot for company. 

Uh-oh, She'd lost her train of 
thought. "Come on, Rachel, get back 
on the ball," she told herself, A single 
keystroke, and her terminal screen 
brought up a typed text of the material 
she had just been dictating. She saw 
where her narrative had begun to 
stray, Backing up the recording to that 
spot, she began again. No sense quit- 
ting when you're almost done. 

About an hour later, Rachel emerged 
with briefcase in hand from the power 
plant into pale winter sunshine. First Av- 



enue was unnaturally quiet, with most 
New Yorkers still resting from their New 
Year's Eve celebrations. The fresh air 
felt good, and she began to cheer up. 

She walked two blocks north and 
soon reached the shelter at the near- 
est bus stop. "When will the next num- 
ber-nineteen bus arrive?" she asked. 

From long habit, she had moved 
close to the microphone and cupped 
her hand to one side. On normal days, 
traffic noise tended to confuse the bus 
stop's voice-recognition system, forcing 
some would-be users to repeat their 
questions. 

"The next number-nineteen bus will 
arrive in approximately eleven minutes. 
More than fifty percent of the seats are 
vacant at this time." 

"I'm going cfosstown on Fifty-seventh 
Street. How long will I have to wait for 
a westbound bus?" 

"Approximately fourteen minutes. Hol- 
iday schedules apply today." 

"I want to get to Fifty-eighth Street 
and Ninth Avenue. Is there a faster 
way?" 

"No faster routes are available this 
morning." 

"Thanks," Rachel said unnecessar- 
ily. Even though talking computers had 
been part of her life since childhood, 
she couldn't help speaking to them as 
if they were people. 



With more than ten minutes to kill be- 
fore the bus arrived, she decided to 
check her mail. Reaching inside her 
coat, she retrieved the telephone she 
normally carried in her jacket pocket. 
"Home control, please," she said. 
Since it was too cold to retrieve her lap- 
top from the briefcase at her feet, she 
elected to receive spoken summaries 
of her messages. 

"There are eleven items in the active 
file, including four new ones," her 
home computer reported. "Two were re- 
ceived in facsimile form and appear to 
be unsolicited advertisements. One is 
from the Student Travel Agency, and 
the other contains a discount coupon 
on pizzas for Fordham University stu- 
dents." 

"I don't want to see the travel flier, 
but save the pizza coupon. What 
else?" 

"A seventy-nine- word E-mail mes- 
sage from Professor Lynch. Shall I 
read it to you?" 

"Yes, go ahead," 

'"Rachel. I've just finished matching 
up next semester's internship preferenc- 
es with the available slots and am hap- 
py to tell you that you are getting your 
first choice. Your contact will be ROBer- 
tO SALAZAR. Working in a cosmetics 
packaging operation will be quite a 
change from the power plant, but 



From the makers of Jack Daniel's... 



To the " 
drinkers of 
Jack Daniel's. 

Our very own, very special 
recipe for sippirY Jack Daniel's 



JACK DANIEL'S 
CHBURG LEMONADE 




that's the idea. We want our M.B.A.'s to 
experience the full range of the busi- 
ness world. I'll be anxious to read your 
term paper on Con Edison. Good luck, 
Rachel.'" 

"Remind me to call Salazar tomorrow 
afternoon, and cross-index him under 
'Spring Semester.'" 

"I have added the reference and 
will call ROBOSALAZAR to find out 
when Mr. Salazar will be available to 
speak with you." 

"Fine. What else do you have?" 

The final item was a short voice mes- 
sage from Michael. "Hi, it's one minute 
to midnight. Happy New Year and hap- 
py birthday. I'll call you tomorrow." 

"Happy New Year to you, too," she 
whispered to herself, hurt that he 
hadn't added anything more personal. 
Breaking their New Year's Eve date to 
baby-sit that ailing superconducting gen- 
erator had put a momentary crimp in 
their relationship. But the job had to get 
done. 

The soft whine of the bus interrupt- 
ed her thoughts as it slid to a stop in 
front of her. 

Once on board, she selected a seat 
in an empty row. Firmly resolved to put 
Michael out of her mind, she retrieved 
her laptop computer from the briefcase, 
and activated the unit's voice input by 
pressing the multicolored broach 
pinned to her collar. A Christmas pre- 
sent to herself. Like most of her 
friends, Rachel changed lapel micro- 
phones to match her clothes and 
mood. Next, she snapped her pocket 
telephone into its socket on the laptop 
and almost immediately -eceived a log- 
in prompt from the network servers. Af- 
ter establishing her identity via a short, 
spoken dialogue, she 'etneved an elec- 
tronic camera from her briefcase and 
proceeded to transfer the photos she 
had taken that morning into the sys- 
tem's image files. 

The term paper was in pretty good 
shape. The history section reviewed the 
prolonged battles over the greenhouse 
effect that ultimately transformed the 
world's mix pi energy sources, and how 
the world's industrial powers had not on- 
ly been forced to cut their own energy 
consumption but had also financed a 
global program of power generation 
based on nuclear energy, "Not bad," 
she thought, but the more recent de- 
velopments needed polishing. Topic by 
topic, she proceeded to shape the ref- 
erence maleiiai she had assembled in- 
to readable paragraphs — continuing 
progress toward fusion energy, the. com- 
petition between French and Japanese 
firms supplying fail-safe fission reactors 
for the U.S. market, and the rates at 
which users of fossil fuels were convert- 
ing to electricity or electrically created 
hydrogen. 

Supplementing her voice inputs 
with the laptop's touch screen and key- 

64 OMNI 



ooare, she proceeded to assemble fie 
rest of her report. A quick call to the 
New York Public Library produced a 
nice Washington Post photograph of 
the massive antinuclear rally that 
marked the high point of the controver- 
sy. Scaling it to size, she inserted the 
image at an appropriate point in the 
text and authorized payment of the fee 
for its use, but only after making sure 
that she would only be charged the 
"noncommercial" rate. 

The imminent arrival of the bus at Fif- 
ty-eighth Street interrupted her prog- 
ress, so she returned the laptop to its 
case. Instead of logging off, however, 
she merely used her cordless micro- 
phone to continue dictating. By the 
time she was seated in the crosstown 
bus, she had finished first drafts of all 
the remaining sections. She decided to 
defer reviewing the typed copies that 
the automatic dicta:ion sys:em had cre- 
al.ee until she could confirm that the over- 



iBreaking 

their New Year's Eve 

date just to 

■baby-sit with that ailing 

■superconduct- 
ing generator had put a 
momentary crimp 
in their relationship. 9 



reopened her laptop and .scanned the 
TV listings. Idly, she flicked on a game 
show. While Rachel usually enjoyed com- 
peting against other viewers, and had 
even won once, today's topic didn't re- 
ally interest her. "if all else fails, there's 
always more homework," she thought 
as she flipped to the university's "class- 
room" screen and downloaded a video- 
tape of a seminar she had missed. 

Rachel's class did not meet in tra- 
ditional classroom lectures. Instead, the 
professor and his students met via mul- 
timedia conferencing. Since Rachel 
hadn't been at her workstation at the 
scheduled time, the conferencing sys- 
tem's connection had automatically de- 
faulted to her personal "answering ma- 
chine," giving her a televised recording 
of the proceeding. 

Starting the playback, Rachel saw 
the familiar -row of snapshot-size win- 
dows across the top of her screen. 
■■Most contained televised head-and- 
shoulder images of the professor and 
the other students. Only hers and that 



of another absemee remained blank. 
Small icons indicated that both absen- 
tees were getting real-time video re- 
cordings for later review. Each partici- 
pant saw" a similar screen and could 
converse with the others in a face-to- 
face manner, thanks to small video 
cameras mounted atop each worksta- 
tion's display. 

The major portion of the screen pro- 
vided a space that served as a mul- 
timedia "blackboard." In order to 
reinforce a point about the effects of 
technology on productivity, the profes- 
sor started by showing a film ciip of a 
corporate file room taken in the early 
Nineties. 

"Hard as it is to believe today," he 
began, "most office work depended on 
paper records as recently as twenty- 
five years ago. In the early Nineties, for 
example, office workers filed more 
than a quarter of a trillion paper docu- 
ments each year in the United States 
alone. Placed side-by-side, one year's 
filing cabinet production would have 
spanned the entire North American con- 
tinent from ocean to ocean." 

"But they had facsimile anc mass stor- 
age media in those days, didn't they?" 
one student asked. 

"Yes, but it took a while to integrate 
the pieceparts. Imagine how it must 
have bean. iu :, L'.ng through papers by 
hand, instead of just letting an optical 
character reader scan the stored im- 
ages and get the meaning out. What a 
waste! As yo.u know, computer manu- 
facturers advertised 'paperless offices' 
as early as the Sixties. But those sys- 
tems only accommodated typed data. 
No wonder they didn't work. 

"Bad as America's office productivity 
was in the last century, Japan's was 
even worse. As U.S. manufacturers be- 
gan' to match Japan's factory produc- 
tivity in the Nineties, the Japanese 
could no longer afford to maintain their 
antiquated office methods, especially 
since Japan's industrial competitors 
had largely unburdened themselves of 
the need to maintain massive defense 
budgets. ..." 

The lecture continued, but Rachel's 
attention wandered. A blinking icon in- 
dicated an incoming call from Michael. 
She stopped the lecture and took the 
call. To her surprise, Michael's face 
didn't appear on her screen. Instead, 
she found herself looking at a half- 
grown German shepherd, comfortably 
scratching its ear. 

"Hi, We've just come back from a run 
through Central Park," she heard Mi- 
chael say as he moved into view. "We 
had a great time, but Ludwig is covered 
with mud. How about coming over and 
helping me give him a bath? I'd offer 
to make lunch, but I don't have much 
in the house." 

"That's okay." Rachel smiled. "I'll 
bring along a pizza." DQ 



For ten years Paul 
was the unchallenged 

master. Decades 
later, he still inspires 




BY FORREST 
J. ACKERMAN 



From 1926 to 1936 Frank Rud- 
olph Paul knocked the sox off 
young American sci-fi fans, in- 
troducing Ihem by his artwork to 
H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Bur- 
roughs, and others. Our optics 
were dazzled by the brand-new 
worlds of the magicolored cov- 
ers that first lured us inside the 
prescient pages of Amazing Sto- 
ries and Science Wonder Sto- 
ries. By Paul. Paul above all. 
There were other science-fiction 
artists of the time' — but none 
could hold a palette to Paul. 

He was guest of honor at the 
first World Science Fiction 
Convention in 1939. Among the 
185 attendees honoring Paul 
was Ray Bradbury; and of this 
legendary legerdemainic artist 
Bradbury acknowledges; 

65 



Was it he then that first drew me into science fiction and the 
far future, and not the authors inside the incredible copies 
of Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories in 1928 and 1929 
and 1930? Is he responsible for my life, almost more than any other influence, 
because he widened my eyes and opened my soul? ~$3^ r Did he cause me to be 
ready for Buck Rogers, Tarzan, and Flash Gordon, with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to follow? 
Yes. It was his cities, of course; those huge and gravity-defying architectures of some impossible 
time beyond my own life. When I saw his magazine covers when I was eight, I wanted to run into Frank 
R. Paul's skyscrapers and stay as a permanent dweller. If there were other painters and illustrators of 
futures somewhere in the world, I did not yet know them. He was sufficient. He hyperventilated me long 
before that term arose in our language. ^^ Because of him, when I walked through the Chicago 
World's Fair in 1933 I wept on the train heading north to Waukegan at midnight, longing for that future 




that I left behind. Stunned with the architectures of some far year, I began to dream my own city blueprints 
and build papier-mache towns in my backyard, illuminated by Christmas tree lights which promptly razed 
the towns with short-circuit fires. And when the cities burned, I trapped them on paper and began to write. 
So much for the Beauties, the architectures, of Frank R. Paul, What about his Beasts? For surely Paul 
created both. Not just one Beauty but many. Not just one Beast, but Beasts multifold. ~£^' And the 
astronauts caught between? Not human at all, Dead in the moment of birth. Mere cardboard cutouts with 
almost Little Orphan Annie eyes, cartoons created merely to stare upon the miracles of buildings that 
soared halfway to the moon, and creatures exiting such buildings by the scores of thousands, proving 
again and again the fecundity of the Universe. £§^' The astronauts were there as stiff mannequins to 
gape at encounters with intelligent worms, seals, spiders, mollusks, bright pterodactyls, and even brighter 
upright-wandering Beasts that by their very intelligence, will, and morality (not always, but often) proved 
themselves more than human. For Paul, and the authors he illustrated, proved that humanity is not a 




I (though confined 
1 within an arti- 
' ficial environment, 
a time traveler 
from the future has no 
problem defending 
himself or making his 
laconic remarks 
about the state of civ- 
ilization perfectly 
clear. From "The Ma- 
chine Man of 
Ardathia" by Francis 
Flagg, in Amaz- 
ing Stories, 
November 1927. 



Jleven years before 
Orson Welles 
and the Mercury 
Theater group shock- 
ed America with 
their radio broadcast 
adaptation of H.G. 
Wells's War of the 
Worlds, Paul's 
cover illustration for 
the August 1927 
edition of Amazing 
Stories gave readers 
a potent rendition 
of the Martians' war 
machines, pictured 
here decimating 
nineteenth-century 
England. 



ine-year-old 

I Forrest Ackerman 

was inspired 

by this Frank R. Paul 

cover from the 

October 1926 issue 

of Amazing 

Stories to become 

an SF writer. 



he "aliens" pic- 
tured here, 
firing death rays 
at a dinosaur, are 
really moon men from 
the past who 
visit Earth only to find 
it inhabited by 
thunder lizards. Paul, 
who trained as a 
draftsman, makes ex- 
cellent use of the 
available space on 
the February 
1932 cover of Amaz- 
ing Stories. 



Jarthmen gaze 
upon the luminous 
planet Jupiter 
from one of its moons. 
With the exception 
of the Great Red Spot, 
placed in the wrong 
hemisphere, note how 
closely Paul's 
representation of the 
giant planet 
matches the images 
sent to Earth by 
the Voyager probes 
some 50 
years later. 



Juring the 1920's, 
SF art was still 
searching for an 
identity. Paul's 
work with contrasting 
primary colors and 
action scenes helped 
define the genre. 
This cover, picturing 
a scene from "To 
the Moon by Proxy," 
by J. Schlossel, shows 
a lion expecting 
to make short work of 
an apparent human 
thrown into his arena. 
The beast gets an 
unpleasant surprise 
when it proves 
to be a metallic robot. 



J he August 1928 
Amazing Stories 
introduces 
none other than An- 
thony "Buck" 
Rogers, although the 
floating man on 
this cover illustration 
pictures Richard 
Seaton, the trailblaz- 
ing star created 
by Edward Elmer 
"Doc" Smith in "The 
Skylark of Space." 



n "The Second 
Swarm," by 
J. Schlossel, the 
Earth has been 
invaded by creatures 
from another star 
system. The Earth- 
lings respond by 
sending a gigantic, 
mile-long star- 
ship, capable of trav- 
eling light-years, 
to the nearest star 
system to parley with 
the aliens 
and colonize planets. 




!ewsstands of 
the Twenties and 
Thirties were 
crowded with maga- 
zines. A Paul cover al- 
most guaranteed 
strong sales. In the 
December 1932 
Wonder Stories Paul 
illustrates a scene 
from Nat Schacher's 
"Time Express" 
where tourists 
relax in the future. 



Ilaui made sure 

IP he read the 
J stories he was 
commissioned to 
lustrate, and he had a 
flare for selecting 
dramatic scenes 
that would sell a mag- 
azine. This cover 
illustration (above, 
right), from the 
March 1933 Wonder 
Stories, shows 
a time traveler locked 
in the grips of a 
gigantic machine that 
is operated by ants. 



pposite page, 
right: This 1930 
edition of Air 
Wonder Stories fea- 
tures a war machine 
that effectively 
neuters the threat of 
fighter planes 
under development at 
the time — a flying 
buzz saw that shears 
aircraft in half. 



J pposite page, 
below: The picture 
that generated 
thousands of words — 
the November 1929 
issue of Science Won- 
der Stories featured 
a contest asking 
readers to shape a 
story based on 
the Paul-illustrated 
cover of a flying 
saucer carrying off 
the Woolworth 
Building, then the 
tallest in the world. 
The prize-winner 
received a $300 cash 
award, a king's 
ransom in those days. 



shape, size, texture, color, or language, but a con- 
cept. He gave us inhabitants of the Light, animal 
concepts in word and deed, capable of behaving 
better than their visitors from the Third Planet, So 
we were engrossed, month on month from the late 
Twenties on up into the Thirties, by cities that prom- 
ised eternal joy because they flew our souls to land 
on their ramparts, and by the witty animals who 
invited us to perambulate their alien shores and did 
not eat us like oysters at the end of our stroll. Beau- 
ties and Beasts. Cities and aliens. Say this. 
■^^ r Then say: Frank R. Paul, They are one. And 
being one, widened our eyes, our minds, and then 
our souls. We promised, with love at first sight of his 
monthly art shows, that we would grow up but not 
old, and try our damndest to live forever. 
—Thus spake the Martian Chronicler. 
Who could hope to compete with the wonderful 
word wizardry of Ray Bradbury? Still, I employ this 
opportunity to shout to the world how the October 
1926 issue of Amazing Stories, graced by Frank R. 
Paul's amazing cover, levitated itself right off the 
shelf at my neighborhood magazine rack and waft- 
ed on wings of wonder into my waiting arms (all 
nine years of them), •30^' In ensuing months and 
years I beheld flying saucers (20 years before the 
first reported UFO sighting in 1949) kidnapping the 
Woolworth Building and the Eiffel Tower ... an as- 
tronaut greeting a twice-his-size bulb-chested Bar- 
soomian with feathers, telescopic eyes, and anten- 
nae ... a G\ant (sci-ants fiction!) towering in its 
formidable formic might over a cowering man . . . 
marvels both Brobdingnagian and Lilliputian, a 
pyrotechnic kaleidoscope, the supernal supra- 
mundane. ■^£? r By the master of imaginative art. 
The maestro of the marvelous. This modest man, 
born in Austria in 1884, student of art in Vienna, Par- 
is, and New York, was discovered by the Luxem- 
bourgian immigrant Hugo Gernsback, "Father of 
Science Fiction," who employed him to illustrate 
Electrical Experimenter and Science and invention, 
the Omni's of their day before the birth of Amazing 
Stones, Perhaps the most astonishing fact of all is 
that Paul was not primarily an illustrator of science 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 84 




FICTION BY PAT CADIGAN 



OHNNY 
COME HOMI 



There was nothing for Moscow. Most of them 

me to do in Moscow VV little more than empty 
but drink. s. storefronts with the 



but drink. 

Well, that and look 
for Johnny, and I 
no longer really 



bare essentials; 
if you wanted 
atmosphere, 
you brought it 

with you. Or, if 



the city, eventually our pecially wealthy tourist, 

paths would cross and I you could go to one of 

would reel him in. But un- the headjob parlors, 

til that happened, I had to where they gave you a 



ing was it. Bars as West- of gloves so you could en- 

erners know them were joy your Stoli in whatever 

still relatively new in virtual environment they 

PAINTING BY BILL VUKSANOVICH 





KA 



'O mere 
lwas, 
boozing 



cruising 



night— pro- each and every one): Oi 
you'd made place is pretty much like , 



" 'anding. Ev 
: especially 
I weeks before the millenni 



sides being mellow and friend- 
ly, it had the salutary effect of 
enhancing the Sense. The bad 
news was that sobering u 
dulled me, bi 
enough to take care of. 

So there I was, boozing and I ^ 
cruising in Moscow. They all en- 



Master qt my 

my soul, world tut! of rr 
' row's anothei 



to fetch Johnny and Igot to go areotl 

to Russia to do it. First time. l'# thing c 

ever been off the North Anier- bly wil; 
' m, too: But here's V-" 

truth for you (and. 

< hot home truth. 



:hing can happen and it j 



I held my place at a bar that had once 
been some kind of counter — kitchen? 
grocery? — it was hard to tell in this 
light — in another dingy ex-storefront. 

As usual, there were lots of foreign- 
ers. Some were tourists and business 
travelers, but a good many of them 
were what the government was calling 
"temporary long-term." No doubt plen- 
ty of those were skating along on 
forged papers, hoping to find some way 
to establish residency later. Russia had 
been through a lot of changes in the 
Nineties right along with the rest of the 
world, but people themselves never re- 
alty change, no matter where they are. 
Nor do situations. That's some more 
home truth, and you could figure that 
■one out even without the Sense. 

So / maintained, anyway. The Sense 
is not one hundred percent infallible but 
the group back home believed it was a 
constant, all-over advantage. I was of 
two minds, you should pardon the ex- 
pression, about that, myself, and it some- 
times caused more friction among us 
than Johnny's periodic coop flying. "Loy- 
al opposition" is not an easy concept 
to put over to organisms like us, but we 
all understood disloyal opposition. We 
had Johnny. Or we would when I 
brought him home again, tired, disillu- 
sioned, and hung over from his freedom 
bender, to play docile prodigal and re- 
join. Until all those sweet, mad ideas 



built up enough to set him off again. 

I was on my third Stoli, watching the 
bartender sort out orders and make 
change, when the front door opened 
wide with a blast of frigid winter air. 
Over the multilingual gabble, someone 
started calling for papers in six differ- 
ent languages, and the person on my 
left dropped like a stone. 

I looked down. A pretty, heart- 
shaped face framed by dark blond 
hair looked back up at me, eyes wide. 

"Pamageeteh menye," she whis- 
pered. Help me. 

I was on the verge of telling her I 
wasn't Russian. Then I moved so that 
I was standing directly in front of her, 
my ankle length coat spread to hide" 
her. She had been at the end of the bar 
next to the wall, so perhaps no one had 
seen her duck. Even if someone had, 
this wasn't the type of crowd that 
would alert the immigration officers now 
moving through the place and shining 
flashlights on documents held up for in- 
spection. 

Chatter became hushed and most 
movement ceased, except for the 
sweep of the flashlight beams standing 
out hard in the smoky air, like light 
swords in some old science-fiction mov- 
ie. The bartender moved slowly down 
the counter, picking up empty glasses, 
running a rag over the chipped Formi- 
ca, until he came to where I was stand- 




ing. Folding his arms, he leaned against 
the wall and looked around in an aim- 
less, bored way before letting his gaze 
rest pointedly to my left. 

I showed him my passport and 
shrugged. 

He made a fist, wincing. His 
thoughts were like a bellow in my skull, 
a mostly incoherent expression of an- 
ger, at me with my coat so obviously 
spread, at the woman hiding behind it, 
at the immigration officers, at the world 
in general for interfering with him. He 
was very young, one of the post- 
glasnost generation, with no memory of 
a different time, when this empty store- 
front would have been egually empty 
even with a store in it, when he might 
have begged the blond's blue jeans 
from her to sell on the black market and 
ended up crouching in the dark with 
her, hiding from KGB, not immigration. 

Or perhaps he was a member of a 
hate group. I could get no clear indi- 
cation from him. Even with plenty of 
warm, Sense-enhancing Stoli in me, his 
tension was an occluder. 

The bartender's gaze shifted and I 
turned to look at the immigration officer 
now standing on my right. Without mov- 
ing my elbows from the bar, I showed 
her my open passport, in the peripher- 
al glow from the flashlight, her face was 
calm, unworried; she might have been 
an acquaintance looking at pictures of 
my family. 

She moved the flashlight beam to my 
face. I stared past it to the two pinpoints 
of reflected light, all I could see of her 
eyes now. Everything stopped. 

After a while, she said, "Thank you, 
Maria Tell," her accent making the 
words musical. She held her head 
high as she turned around. I could feel 
the bartender staring hard at me as 
the 1 woman made her way to the door, 
where the other officers were waiting. 
They filed out in another blast of 
Moscow winter wind that cleared a lit- 
tle of the smoke and briefly overrode 
the ancient space heaters. I could still 
Sense her aching feet, her fatigue, her 
discomfort in the cold, her wish that 
they could just give this foreigner 
watering hole a last once-over and 
leave empty-handed, through for the 
night; and if by chance there were re- 
fuseniks with forged papers among the 
crowd, then please don't let her have 
to find them, iet it be one of the 
others who would have to stay up the 
rest of the night inputting and contact- 
ing embassy officials and whatnot. Ali 
she wanted was to go home and see 
what had been downloaded from the 
Internationa! Net. 

That made me the genie who had 
granted her wish. No wonder she'd 
thanked me so politely. 

The blond emerged from under my 
coat, swiping at her mussed hair and 
looking dazed, as if she had just awak- 

C0NTIW.,ED0NPAGES7 




Suffering from runaway inflation? 

Foreign debt through the ceiling? Send for 

Dr. Economy. He's willing to 

make house calls, and his fast-working 

prescriptions could make your 

country boom in the twenty-first century 

IOJTERVIEIAJ 






Helmeted goons firing 
tracer bullets at 
crowds, peasants top- 
pling statues of dictators, 
tanks rolling over the legs of 
women: These are horrific 
visions of politics, not science. 
Unless you are economist 
Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard. 
Sachs's laboratories, where 
he tests theories and charts pre- 
scriptions, are nation-states. 
The clients of this high-risk con- 
sultant are governments in 
crisis. Revolution and runaway 
inflation are his stock-in-trade, 
e the economic con- 



sequences of political up- 
heavals have traditionally 
been so resistant to plan and 
prediction, the theorists 
of "economic science" have 
hedged their bets in these 
arenas and stayed in their ivo- 
ry towers, where, it's said, 
if they were all laid end to end 
they still wouldn't reach a 
conclusion. But Sachs dares to 
go hands-on. At thirty-six, 
he is a mop-top, globe-trotting 
wunderkind, an intellectual 
gun for hire who is as often on 
an airplane as he is at home 
in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT ESSEL 



A dozen governments in Latin Ameri- 
ca and Europe have lined up for his 
advice in the last six years, and no 
wonder: Sachs delivers. In Bolivia his 
strategies reduced hyperinflation 
from 60,000 percent to an annual 
rate of 12 percent. 

How did Sachs end up on the 
world's stage with top government min- 
isters clamoring for his wisdom at 
such an early age? Economist and 
sage John Kenneth Galbraith says 
Sachs "inspires a great deal of confi- 
dence." Nor is there anything aston- 
ishing about his youth to Galbraith. "I 
was the price czar of the United 
States at the same age," he says. 
Sachs's talent, explains his Wash- 
ington partner, economist Homi Khar- 
as, is to "translate complex theory in- 
to powerful and simple terms that per- 
suade politicians and others to sup- 
port a program." 

Addicted to economics from an ear- 
ly age, Sachs conducted a veritable 
blitzkrieg on his Ph.D. at Harvard, com- 
pleting the course work by the end of 
his firs! yea: o- graduate school. And 
within three years of earning his Ph.D. 
he had become a full professor. 

In 1986 Bolivia, beset by galloping 
inflation, sent a delegation to Harvard 
for help. Sachs became an adviser to 
Bolivia's president and by all ac- 
counts can take much credit for the 
inflation-puncturing policies. Fernan- 
do Romero, banker and former plan- 
ning minister in Bolivia, says Sachs 



"made our reform plan consistent and 
complete and found ways to cope 
with the often brutal social costs of 
readjustment." 

A key part of Sachs's success in- 
volved persuading overseas lenders 
to forgive half Bolivia's foreign debt. 
But some U.S. bankers holding the 
bag were less ecstatic than the Bo- 
livians. Sachs is a "paid flack for the 
countries of Latin America," growled 
Citicorp's ex-chairman Walter Wriston. 
In fact, Sachs, together with two part- 
ners, consults under the aegis of the 
United Nations University in Helsinki 
and gets paid by the university and- 
foundations. 

With more nations in hyperinflation 
than ever before, Sachs's advice is in- 
creasingly sought after by other Lat- 
in American countries. But real super- 
star status arrived when he was pick- 
ed as head coach for Poland in its dra- 
matic switch to capitalism. Facing 
down doubters, he insisted that Po- 
land brave a short-term leap in pric- 
es (soaring some 600 percent so far) 
to commit wholeheartedly to capital- 
ism. So far, Sachs seems vindicated: 
Ground-level business opportunities 
are flourishing in Poland, although the 
outcome is still in the balance. 

Catching Sachs is like chasing 
Red. Adair on the way to an oil-rig 
fire. "I don't suffer from jet lag," 
laughs Sachs, "because I'm always 
tired!" Interviewer Anthony Liversidge 
first intercepted him in Manhattan, 



where Sachs had come to address 
the exclusive Council of Foreign Re- 
lations on the outlook in the Soviet 
Union. Arms extended, hands firmly 
on the lectern throughout, Sachs field- 
ed the notoriously tough questions 
from the audience in this august 
club with supreme confidence. 

Omni: Is global capitalism the future 
of the world? 

Sachs: The future of the world 
should be a movement toward an inte- 
grated world economy, based large- 
ly on private ownership. I guess that 
means a global capitalist system. 
Omni: A bit of socialism mixed in 
there, perhaps? 

Sachs: Capitalism today is a very com- 
plex system with a large role for the 
state, with some state ownership and 
so forth. Nineteenth-century capital- 
ism is dead. Eastern Europe would 
not have broken out of the shackles 
of Communism to regain nineteenth- 
century capitalism. What it wants to 
gain is late-twentieth-century capital- 
ism — a social welfare state wedded 
to a market economy and private own- 
ership. This system has proved to be 
the most remarkable human construc- 
tion — capable of producing wealth 
and generalized economic benefit far 
greater than anything previously de- 
vised in human history. In that 
sense, it is an attractive model for the 
whole world. 
Omni: Is global free trade the future 



NAME: 

Jeffrey Sachs 

AGE: 

Thirty-six 

PLACES OF WORK: 

Harvard: Galen L Stone Professor of 
international trade; Helsinki: 
visiting professor of macroeconomic 
', World Institute for 
Development Economics Research, 
United Nations University 



COUNTRIE5 VISITED 
IN ONE MONTH: 

The USSR, Poland, Yugoslavia 
(twice). Great Britain (twice), 
Norway, Sweden, and Finland 

ADVICE TO DEVELOPING 
COUNTRIE5: 

Don't make new experiments, take 
what is, become part of the 
world system and evolve with it. 

WHAT SHOULD BE PUBLIC IN 
THE U.S. ECONOMY: 

Universal health care 

WHAT SHOULD BE PRIVATE: 

The Postal Service. "We've 
already privatized most of it with 
e entry into telecommunications 
technology." 

DAILY READING: 

Four newspapers, half a book 

RECENTLY READ: 

The Russian Revolution 
by Richard Pipes 



for every nation on Earth, too? 
Sachs: It's the likely future of Europe; 
the future of the world depends on 
whether we go into a system of com- 
peting blocs — a European, Asian, and 
American bloc. That's unlikely. Compet- 
ing blocs would be vastly inferior for 
world economic well-being than an in- 
tegrated world economy. There are 
enough deep interests in keeping an in- 
tegrated world system that it's likely to 
hold together despite many tensions. 
Omni: In the twenty-first century, will 
the United States move entirely into 
services and ultrahigh-tech manufac- 
turing, into an information-based econo- 
my? Are we going to become a huge 
Switzerland? 

Sachs: I'm going to give you a disap- 
pointing answer. I don't know. And no 
economist can tell you. Many trends in 
the last twenty years were unpredicted— 
the enormous move to a service- 
based economy, the extent we'd lose 
to Japan our lead in many important in- 
dustries, even the basic trends in U.S. 
productivity, If you ask an economist 
where's a good place to invest, which 
industries are going to grow, where the 
specialization is going to occur, the 
track record is pretty miserable. Be- 
cause that's the role of businessmen. 
Economists don't collect the on-the- 
ground information businessmen do. 
Every time Poland asks, Well, what are 
we going to be able to produce? I say 
I don't know. 

Omni: Then you can't advise on spe- 
cific products? 

Sachs: It would be a horrendous thing 
to do. No one saw that Korea would 
start its export boom with wigs, that 
this was where the comparative advan- 
tage would be. When Chile liberalized, 
many envisioned an industrial boom, 
not an off-season -fruit boom. When Tur- 
'key liberalized, everybody thought its 
steel industry would collapse. But it spe- 
cialized in a few products and had a 
terrific boom in exports. 

When Poland liberalized. I heard an 
enormous chorus all over the world say- 
ing, Come on, Professor, how can you 
say they have export-led growth when 
they've got nothing going for them? 
What happened? 

There was an export boom of incredi- 
ble proportions. Exports- to the West 
rose by forty-five percent in one year. 
Turned out they exported many things 
I never would have dreamed in a mil- 
lion years. Turned out Poland had a 
boom in exporting vacuum cleaners to 
Western Europe in 1990. Well, if you'd 
asked me a year before, vacuum clean- 
ers would not have come to my 
in the first hundred and fifty items 
edl This year in Poland I've seen thou- 
sands of businessmen on the ground 
scurrying to do things. But just what 
they'll find, what the specific opportuni 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 96 



■ 




AfUTinnATTER 

UFO UPDATE: 

Can UFO researchers prove that aliens are tagging and tracking 

humans with tiny devices implanted in the body or brain? 

by Paul McCarthy 



■— i 



mSmmm 



ksd like a flashlight bu 
brighter than any flashlight on E 
complex but unrecognizable signs 



s. "that would be pretty con- 



1 have your proof. 
Even more skeptic 

:tions is dubious and that th 

;h." According m ji, uu „ .... 

lenon that always manages to fade a 



i example of this. "Sc 
saying they 

ey," says Sheaffer. "Others 



ARJTinnATTER 



I THE ALIEN IN YOU 



gists have built a strong 

1 lor the existence of t 

jot-tall elephant as a 



ing an objective sc 
zoologists remaii 



sentraut and Wolfgang 



Koenig Zoological Research 



tial evidence," Bohme 



Saratoga began trying to find 



the Journal of the Cologne 
Zoo, they detail a number of 
significant skull r' 



are said by native 
observers to 



" 




wmmJii 


ABOUT 
HINGS 

hear voices 


four 
voic 
say.' 

the 


id three types of inner 
es. The first, she 
i, is a fragmented part of 
self. One man report- 


she does them. 

The third type of voice i 


sa 


her subjects "are functioning 
members of the com- 
munity." Some people are 
ultimately institutional- 
ized because of the voices, 
she says, "but that's 
unfortunate. If the voice 
comes from outside the 
individual or if it has a 
harmful message, then the 
person needs help. But if 
the voices come from the 


Those whc 


doorway to a higher 
seif, Heery reports, and h 


are usually con 
psychotic or sa 
recent five-year 


side red 
ntly. But a 
study by 


edt 
a vc 


hat whenever he lacked 

age, for instance, 

ice told him what to say 


a spiritual dimension. 
Those reporting this type of 
voice, generally heard by 
people who practice prayer 
or meditation, she notes, 
"are typically engaged in ser- 
vice for the larger good 
of humanity, without any 


psychotherapis 
Heery indicates 
otherwise ordin 


! Myrtle 
that 
ary people 


T 
prov 
grov 


he second type of voice 
ides guidance for 
irth through individual 


may s 


ometime; 


; hear 


dialogue. Heery gives 


re sea 


lie course of her 


the example of a painter 
"who checks things out" 


monetary gain i 

manifestation." 

Heery emph, 


arego inner self , they can be 












with 


her inner voice belore 


asizes tha* 


—Paul McCarthy 



fivated Mexicans lor cent 



lirgilla Wallace, staff 
' — iloqist for the 



atl by Mexicans— may Africa. Besides." Wal- 

have been Viking Ari Marson. lace adds, "the myth of 

cording to Norse legend, Quetzalcoatl can be plai 

1, Marson joined quite n 

n to culture of H 
does not fit 

11 of Eric's culture 
en Bui f 



According to Nelin. Marsi 
-"entually reached the 
~junlry of Mexico itself. I 
fact, he adds, "f ' 
legend states ti 



perhaps not — the old narr 



fiction — it was only a sideline 1 . He was 
primarily an illustrator of textbooks! 

He died June 29, 1963. Already 
Paul is enjoying a renaissance in Czech- 
oslovakia on the covers of the science- 
fiction periodical Ikarie. Taiwan wants 
him. Original Paul paintings, rare as 
pterodactyls' teeth, are owned primari- 
ly by three U.S. collectors; Sam Moskow- 
itz, Robert Lesser, and the Ackermuse- 
ufn of Hollywood. A much-sought-after 
Paul cover commands up to $7,500. 

What are the opinions of the artist's 
work by several shakers and movers in 
the sci-fi genre? 

Frank Kelly Freas, winner of innumer- 
able Hugos (the science-fiction field's 
first, oldest, and highest award): "Few 
science-fiction artists have had any dis- 
cernible influence outside the science- 
fiction field. Paul was an exception: His 
influence on the technical and architec- 
tural thought of his time is still visible to- 
day. After over 50 years of construction, 
demolition, and reconstruction, the south- 
ern skyline of New York is still some- 
thing straight out of a Paul illustration. 

Vincent Di Fate, award-winning sci 
fi artist: "Struggling with the limitations 
of the print medium and dealing intelli 
gently with the challenge of needing to 
be conspicuous in a veritable sea of 
pulp images, the garish palette was 
Paul's equivalent of [he grand gesture. 
There is tremendous imagination and 
intensity in his work. One is easily per- 
suaded by the clarity of his art and by 
its immensely authoritative manner 
lhat the images he depicts are real. His 
work was a marvelous kind of 'brain 
food' for a growing new audience ea- 
ger to read stories of gadgets and 
gears and things that go clank in the 
night. In his austere and economical lin- 
ear style, often devoid of lighting and 
atmospheric effects, Paul gave special 
emphasis to his machines; and those 
machines endure as a testament to his 
resourcefulness in matters mechanical, 
and his unswerving belief in the value 
of science. Most of the major elements 
of his paintings can be found along the 
diagonal axes, and this, aided by the 
linear treatment and the use of large, 
flat areas of saturated color, produces 
a most dynamic and eye-catching ef- 
fect. In my heart I know that had it not 
been for him there probably wouldn't be 
people in the world like me. Paul's pres- 
ence in the formative years of the gen- 
re helped give it shape. It took Paul to 
give the field its unique look." 

Sam Moskowitz, doyen historian of 
the science-fiction field: "Frank R. Paul 
succeeded in capturing the spirit of sci- 
ence fiction better than any illustrator be- 
fore or after. One glance at any of his 

84 OMNI 



covers and you know it illustrates a 
work of science fiction. Additionally, he 
was an innovator. He did not use space- 
ships or future cities as icons or sym- 
bolizations but invented new models or 
designs for every illustration. Similarly 
with alien creatures, he frequently vis- 
ualized them more completely than the 
author's own description. Before 
Chesley Bonestell, he depicted space 
landscapes and otherworldly images. 
When national magazines or editors of 
coffee-table books search for science- 
fiction scenes, when shown the pano- 
rama of existing material they most fre- 
quently select Paul over any other." 

Charles D. Hornig, boy wonder who 
at the age of 17 became the world's 
youngest professional science-fiction ed- 
itor: "l first met Frank R. Paul in August 
of 1933 when I became managing edi- 
tor of Wonder Stories. In the 57 years 
since, I have never met a finer person. 

Paul was always pleasant, soft-spo- 



iPerhaps the 

most astonishing fact of 

all: Paul wasn't 

primarily an illustrator 

of science fiction; 

it was only a sideline. He 

was primarily an 
illustrator of textbooks!^ 



ken and filled with good humor. We had 
many lunches together in the nearby Au- 
tomat in New York, and. I daily looked 
forward to spending a little time in his 
presence. I never once saw him dis- 
turbed or angry, and he fully cooperat- 
ed with any suggestions I might have 
had about his illustrating. 

When I could spare the time, I treas- 
ured going into his studio to watch him 
paint a cover for the magazine. He re- 
ally liked science fiction and always want- 
ed to read the stories on which he did 
the artwork. After we had both left 
Gernsback, I still visited him in his new 
offices and found him at one time work- 
ing on a cross section of the New York 
subway He said it was for a proposed 
magazine to be named Life." 

Gerry de la Ree of Saddle River, New 
Jersey, a longtime collector of science 
fiction and fantasy and a specialist in 
fantasy art whose home resembles a mu- 
seum featuring the finest of Virgil Fin- 
lay and Hannes Bok, popular favorites 
who followed Paul; he recalls the pro- 
found effect Paul's artwork had on him: 
"When I discovered pulp magazine sci- 



ence fiction in the Thirties, Paul was 
well established as the dean of sci-fi art- 
ists, mainly for the many covers he had 
done for Gernsback's magazines but al- 
so for the countless black-and-white in- 
teriors. Around 1939 to 1940, Paul did 
a series of back cover paintings for 
Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adven- 
tures. I can recall cutting off these cov- 
ers and putting them in twenty-cent 
Woolworth's frames and hanging them 
on my bedroom wall. 

In 1957, during my years as a sports- 
writer/editor for the Bergen Evening Re- 
cord of Hackensack, New Jersey, I dis- 
covered that Paul was living only a few 
miles from my office in Teaneck. I 
spent an afternoon with him and start- 
ed a Iriendship that ended only with his 
death in 1963. I did an interview with 
him at that time, but the lasting impres- 
sion I have is not of his many fascinat- 
ing drawings and covers but of a gen- 
tle, smiling white-haired man who 
seemed to ooze friendship from every 
pore. His Spartan apartment had no 
great Paul art hanging on the walls or 
piles of artwork on the floor; but for his 
drawing board and paints, there was no 
indication of the great impact he had 
had on the science-fiction field three dec- 
ades earlier. He seemed embarrassed 
that I looked upon him as someone ex- 
traordinary." 

But extraordinary he was, with a cap- 
ital X, as his work attests. Phoenixlike, 
fired by the enthusiasm of admiring ac- 
olytes, he is rediscovered, reborn as we 
approach the twenty-first century he so 
vividly foreshadowed. 

Frank R. Paul— a man who saw to- 
morrow, and with pen and ink and 
brush and paint time-traveled back to 
this century with visionary vistas of the 
shapes of things to come. DO 



CREDITS 

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page 107 top left; GHTV l-oycur, ?, AitouiaxiS 
right: Trx' or, E 3CI-I Cup . bottom. Rob HoutilCr 



© ART CUMINGS 



A captive of 
the creative 



Could you tz\\ 
ovr audience how \_ 
it "Feels to be in 
another world — 



\y 








What are our 
chances of 
getting back 
in time -for 
An/ the 6 o'c/ock 

questions ? news ? 




JOHNNY 

■^ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 74 



ened with no idea how she'd come to 
be here. "God, I had no hope that 
would work, I was just desperate and 
crazy." She saw the bartender and her 
expression became wary. But instead 
of throwing her out, he leaned on the 
bar and looked directly into my face. 

"Do you have a brother?'' he asked 
in heavily accented English. 

And then, of course, I knew exactly 
what Johnny had been doing all this 
time in Moscow. 

"I'm in it for the same reason as any- 
body else," said the blond, puffing 
along beside me in the cold. "Artistic 
freedom." 

I made a polite noise, or tried to. My 
lungs felt frozen. The blond's name was 
Evie Gray, and she was now my friend 
for life. 

"The Russians understand," she 
went on. "They know what repression 
really is. They make movies here 
where people drink and use drugs, 
they can make fun of religion. They've 
got Huckleberry Finn in the libraries- 
it's pretty weird in Russian, but they've 
got it in the original English, too. And 
God, rock music! All kinds of stuff you 
can't hear in the States anymore, old 
rap, new rap, heavy fucking metal that 
tells you to kill yourself, for chrissakes. 
And in the happy-hood parlors, it's any- 
thing goes, hard-core, soft-core, vio- 
lence, whatever you want, and no god- 
damn Council for the Prevention of 
Mind Control to come in and pull the 
plug on you — hell, you can even get 
abortions on demand here, did you 
. know that? On demand. All you have to 
do is walk into a clinic and you don't 
even have to give them a reason — " 

"Still can't burn the Russian flag on 
the sleps of the Kremlin," I said. "But 
I guess nobody's perfect, eh?" 

She didn't hear me. She ran on and 
on about the Constitution being fucked 
like the air and water and land had 
been fucked and how it was just going 
to get worse and worse. Whether she 
was saying all this for my benefit or her 
own wasn't clear even to her. Not that 
it mattered anymore. Her visa had run 
out three weeks before and she was 
now officially refusenik, subject to arrest 
and deportation. 

I wondered if she was aware of the 
original meaning of refusenik, but I 
wasn't curious enough to use the 
Sense to find out. There were scads of 
these new refuseniks running around 
Moscow and elsewhere in the Soviet 
Union. I couldn't decide whether they 
were yet another prernillennial nut 
group, the start of a real movement, or 
just more people living in their own 



brand of artificial reality. But then, I pre- 
dated the Berlin Wall, and at my age, 
sometimes everybody looked like just 
another nut. Even when the Sense told 
me they were all quite sane, if not es- 
pecially wise. 

What Evie Gray was more than any- 
thing else was especially wealthy. I 
didn't point out to her that this was the 
only way she could have managed 
this dramatic flight to freedom. It's yet 
another home truth that only the rich- 
est and the poorest ever attain freedom, 
the richest because they can afford it, 
the poorest because nobody's ever look- 
ing for them. 

"You don't share a brother-sister resem- 
blance," said the woman with the long, 
straight hair. "'More like mother and son. 
If you'll pardon my saying so." 

I smiled at her; she didn't smile 
back. Russians were sparing with their 
smiles. Whoever had taught her English 
had been from Boston. 

"He's adopted." 

"Excuse me?" She looked puzzled. 

"Nothing. Yuri at the Kropotkin hard 
currency bar gave me this address." 

Her gaze slid to Evie Gray. "Did some- 
thing happen at the Kropotkin?" 

"No. Almost, but it was averted," 
I said. 

"Good answer," Evie murmured. 

"I understand," said the woman, step- 
ping to the dark velvet curtain behind 
her. She sounded friendlier but she 
still didn't smile. "You realize that this 
is a very exclusive mesto; foreign visi- 
tors who come here must reserve many 
months in advance and the waiting list 
is already a year long." 

The bundle in Evie's outthrust hand 
was obscenely thick. "I can pay." 

The woman made it disappear al- 
most before my new American friend re- 
alized she had taken it. 

"Next time, you should be more dis- 
creet. Put it in a little sack and pass it. 
If others saw, you could be marked as 
worth robbing." 

"I wouldn't let that happen," I said, 
"but we promise we'll be more careful 
in the future." 

"Harashow. This way." She pulled 
the curtain aside and stepped into the 
headjob parlor. 

I liked the simple deschptiveness of 
their name for it; mesto— literally, 
place. Someplace else might have 
been more like it. The Russians had 
embraced virtual reality with a reli- 
gious fervor. Having been through on- 
ly a few days of a Russian winter and 
hearing it called unseasonably warm, I 
could understand. 

But virtual reality was just as major 
in the States and any other country de- 
veloped enough to maintain the tech- 
nology. I could understand that, too. It 
was merely the next logical step after 
television and video games, really. 



At last, 
perfection in a vodka, 

Tanqueray Sterling 



The mQsto wasn't much like an Amer- 
ican arcade. Instead of little single or 
double booths, there were rows of 
what looked like old barber chairs, 
aboul fifty altogether, all of them occu- 
pied by people wearing headpieces 
and action gloves. Lots of weird hand 
motions going on, some I could guess 
at and some I wouldn't have wanted to. 
There were no individual units — all the 
cables from the equipment disap- 
peared into the floor. Centralized trans- 
mission; no variety, but it would make 
the mesto's operating costs a lot cheap- 
er, increasing the profit margin to some- 
thing that even an old Eighties greed-is- 
good throwback would cali more than 



"How long have you been operat- 
ing?" I asked the woman as I followed 
her to the end of the last row of chairs. 

"Almost a year," she said. 

At the end of the row was a vacant 
chair, the only one in the room, with a 
headpiece sitting on it like an aban- 
doned crown. 

"Your companion bought you an 
hour's worth," the woman said, gestur- 
ing at it. "Take your pleasure." 

I blew out an irritated breath. "That's 
not what I'm here for," 

"If you want to see your brother, you'll 
take the hour." She picked up the head- 
piece and held it out to me. 

It didn't make any sense, and I was 



having a hard time with the Sense as 
well. The long, cold walk from the Kro- 
potkin had sobered me up and I was 
dull. But the little flicker that I managed 
to get from her indicated that, some- 
how, she was telling the truth. Maybe 
Johnny wanted me all tangled up with 
wires and disiractod wilh lancy pictures 
before he'd talk to me, figuring that 
would keep me from sussing him out. 
As if this artificial reality could come be- 
tween us any better than the one he'd 
made for himself. Dream on, and on, 
and on, Johnny. 

The woman helped me with the 
gloves and then started to put the head- 
piece on me. "I'd like some Stoli, 
please," I said. 

"This is not a valuta bar," she said. 
"We don't serve anything. If you want- 
ed drinks, you should have brought 
your own." 

"Get her some vodka." Evie slipped 
a hand into her pocket, "You can get 
me some, too." 

The woman hesitated. 

"And bring a straw. You know, one 
of those hollow tube things you can 
suck liquids through?" I added, in re- 
sponse to her blank look. "Unless you're 
hiding some dispensers for the head- 
pieces?" 

"Yeah, it's the same fuck-the-tourists 
crap all over," said Evie. 

"Shut.up," I told her. 




"Sometimes there's a bottle back in 
the office. A straw"— the woman 
shrugged — "I'll see what I can find." 
She took something from Evie — discreet- 
ly enough, I supposed — and slipped 
out a nearby door. Evie moved to help 
me with the headpiece. 

"Hold it," I said. 

She drew back a little, looking 
stung. 

"I can't go on helping you indefinite- 
ly, you know." 

"Can't?" She gave me a fast, 
pained grin. "You mean won't, right?" 

"Look, I can fix it so tired cops don't 
see what they don't want to see. But I 
don't forge residency papers. And I'm 
not staying in Russia any longer than I 
have to." 

"But you could make someone 
forge papers for me, couldn't you?" 

I wanted to shake her. 

"Is this place really so much better 
than the U.S.? You Ihink Russia is heav- 
en just because they've got Huckleber- 
ry Finn on the shelves and rap music 
on the radio and abortion on demand? 
Does the name Stalin mean anything to 
you? How about Pamyat? They were 
just another anti-Semitic hate group in 
the early Nineties, but now even their 
staunchesl sympathizers are afraid of 
them. And they're not the only haters run- 
ning around loose, all of them with 
their own agendas, but two things they 
all agree on: They hate Jews and they 
hate refuseniks.-You think all of the miss- 
ing ones are just blending in with their 
forged papers? Plenty of them are ly- 
ing on slabs in a Moscow morgue, gut- 
ted like cattle, courtesy of Pamyat" 

"Pamyat is a bad word around here. 
Don't use it." The woman reappeared 
and thrust a bottle that was a little over 
half full at me. "Scares away our busi- 
ness. Sorry, no straw. And I have no 
idea what you'll do with it when you're 
inside." 

I took a couple of healthy swigs and 
stuck the bottle between my thighs. She 
shrugged and looked at Evie. 

"I'll wait right here," Evie said. 

"Hurry up and take your hour. 
There's a long line behind you." She 
pushed the headpiece all the way 
down so that my face was covered and 
the eye-screen lit up immediately. 

I joined a standard dolphin's-eye se- 
guence. As soon as artificial reality had 
become feasible for the mass market, 
everyone had gone for the dolphin and 
whale stuff. Out of guilt, maybe: Sorry 
we killed so many of you, so we'll be 
you, or pretend we are. 1 would have 
been bored except the quality was way 
beyond anything .I'd ever seen before. 
The Russians must have been crank- 
ing away on hardware R&D, boost- 
ing definition and whatever else. But 
the headpiece hadn't looked like it was 
anything so extraordinary. 



The perspective cruised pasi a for- 
mation of opalescent, eyeshaped bod- 
ies that turned right and then left as 
one, lifting themselves out of my path 
like a curtain. Near a boulder, a fleshy 
squid ignored me, its tentacles rippling. 
Seaweed drifted, sank away into the 
shadows. Nothing new here, nothing in 
the least, but the quality — my inner ear 
kept flashing swimming messages to 
my stomach, where the disloyal Stoli 
had turned on me with a threat. Disloy- 
al opposition. 

I hung onto the arms of the chair and 
tried to keep part of my awareness 
tuned to where I knew my body was, 
waiting for Johnny's presence to press 
in on the Sense. 

I might have been cruising the ocean 
for ten minutes, or almost the whole 
hour; my sense of time had slipped 
away like one more darting ocean crea- 
ture. But the novelty was wearing off 
and I felt bored, impatient, and slightly 
dizzy. 

The perspective made a sudden 
wide arc to the left and passed 
through a multicolored rock formation. 
Something with nasty-looking jaws 
peered out of a dark hole but never 
moved as I passed. 

Just beyond the rocks was a giant 
clam, the ridges of the shell perfectly 
formed. It began to open as I ap- 
proached—more standard stuff — dis- 
playing the giant pearl in the giant 
clam was usually the climax and indi- 
cated a change to the next sequence. 
So much for my hour and finding John- 
ny, I thought, watching the clamshell 
rise. When I got out of the chair, I was 
going to chug the rest of the Stoli and 
use the Sense to make the mesto host- 
ess do cartwheels until she dropped. 
"Sadistic idea. Not like you, Maria.» 
The clamshell was gaping wide and 
it wasn't a pearl displayed there but a 
man, curled up in the fetal position. He 
unfolded slowly and gracefully, the way 
everything moves underwater, and 
turned to look at me. 

Same old sweet, mad Johnny. His 
shoulder-length brown hair was floating 
around his head; his hazel eyes were 
like stars in his lovely, open face. 

"The Sense couldn't get a good fix 
on you until you jerked the cop in the 
valuta bar. I used the Sense on the 
cops just that same way myself, till I 
found something better." He smiled at 
me. -Come for to carry me home, 
sweet Maria? Sorry, not this time. This 
time, I beat you. I beat you all." 

-You always say that, Johnny. What 
is it now, a woman, or another man 
again? Even without the Sense you 
could make them fall in love with you. 
Lots of people can do that. But you 
can't make them love you. That's some- 
thing very different from falling'ln love, 
Johnny, and after the last three times, 
I'd have thought you'd have known 




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that, You'll end up killing this one with 
your needs, too. Just like the others. 
The group forgives your sin because we 
understand. But nobody else will. At the 
very least, they'll put you in jail and 
there you'll be, far from us and us far 
from you, all of us feeling the Lack. 
That's bad, Johnny. Remember how 
bad it is to feel the Lack? After your lov- 
er isn't falling in love with you anymore 
and you're without us?» 

I was working the Sense on him, of 
course, and he was pushing back just 
as hard, maintaining the balance of pres- 
sure as only those endowed with the 
Sense could. 

It was a balance he couldn't have 
with someone outside the group, the 
give-and-take of the Sense that we all 
needed, whether Johnny wanted to ad- 
mit his own need or not. 

«lt's different this time, Maria. I let my 
lover go right after I found this.- 

-Found what — artificial reality? You 
can get that anywhere. Come home 
and we'll buy you your own booth." 

-But they don't have centralized trans- 
mission back in the States, A multitude 
all looking at once, invisible to each oth- 
er but all visible to me. And I can have 
them all, not just one at a time but to- 
gether." He spread his arms. «\ found 
this lonely technician, got her to scan 
my likeness into the simulation. The scan- 



ning equipment here is so much better 
than ours, they've been working so 
much harder on it. And between me 
and my likeness — » 

He didn't have to explain. Even with- 
out the Sense, I could have felt how it 
was, I think. Johnny's likeness might as 
well have been him. It had its own pow- 
er within the artificial universe, blocking 
our little exchange from the rest of the 
clientele. A hundred people looking and 
none of them saw. I would have said a 
connection between a living being 
with the Sense and a likeness was im- 
possible, except obviously none of us 
had tried it until now. 

«Of course, I have to stay in . . . 
keep the headpiece on, and the 
gloves They're making a whole suit for 
me, it's almost finished. What I've 
done for business here — it was great be- 
fore but now it's taken a real jump. 
We're going to expand. More of them 
for me, more and more, wanting to be 
in some beautiful, otherworldly place, 
one that / create. They give me their 
wanting and needing and I feel no 
Lack, none at all. I don't have to stay 
locked into the group anymore, Maria. 
I'm free now. Free.- 

«Why, Johnny? Why do you have to 
have them? Why don't you just come 
home and get the same thing from the 
ones who really know you and under- 



stand you?» 

He looked away from me, dreamily 
reaching up to run a finger along the 
belly of a passing shark. 

•■Because it is always the same. I 
want different. I want to wake up in the 
morning knowing that I might see any- 
body, be with anybody, go anywhere. 
This way, 1 can. I don't want to be 
chained to the group, the way so many 
of them are chained to lives they never 
wanted. This way, anything really is pos- 
sible. It really /s a world full of miracles." 

•■Dream about it, Johnny." I worked 
the Sense harder on him. «ifs still only 
a dream, and when you wake up, you'll 
still be what you've always been," 

The push came so forcefully that I 
would have sworn he'd found someone 
else with the Sense and the two of 
them were ganging up on me. The like- 
ness, I realized; Johnny had invested 
a great deal in it as the would-be es- 
cape hatch from the prison of his life, 
and wherever Johnny went, the Sense 
went with him. I had Stoli, but Johnny 
had this, and it was bigger. 

Still, I strained for him, trying to 
make him — hrm and his likeness? — 
acknowledge the connection between 
us and fortify its existence. 

I almost had him. Perhaps I had had 
him— his miracle world was more won- 
derful, but I was more familiar. 




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And then rough hands (ore the head- 
piece away and I heard the mesto host- 
ess say, "Time's up." 

The cold was what really brought me 
to, though I was already staggering 
along Gorky Street. Famous Gorky 
Street, I remembered; every few years, 
. the Russians would change the name 
to something else but for some reason, 
they'd always end up changing it back 
again, Evie Gray had her shoulder 
wedged under my armpit and my arm 
slung across her shoulders. She was 
chattering away, but my head was too 
bad to make sense (or Sense) of what 
she was saying and the traitor Stoli in 
my gut was like a washing machine on 
the heavy soil setting. 

Somehow, little old Evie knew — I say 
it's a home truth that in times of stress, 
everybody's got a tiny spot of the 
Sense — and got me io an alley where 
I could throw up in peace. Good-bye, 
Stoli, and goodnight, Gracie. Or Evie. 
I was dulled out. 

After a while, Evie got me moving 
again. She was still chattering — Christ, 
this woman never ran out of breath, I 
guess— and I caught the word problem. 

"The real problem, Evie, old girl," I 
said, lalking loudly over her, "the real 
problem here— and I think the Russians 
really do understand this" — I swung my 
free arm out to gesture at an- empty store- 



front and almost sent us both down on 

the cold pavement— "the real problem 
is, people think life is a ladder, and it's 
really a wheel. That's a real home truth 
and we ignore it. It's there for us to see, 
everything is there for us to see, we've 
got home truth coming out of our ears, 
we know everything there is to know to 
get us through the day in one piece, 
and we ignore it like it doesn't exist. 
Hell, the earth is round, it rums, you'd 
think anyone could take a hint that bla- 
tant, but even someone with the 
Sense, who's supposed to know a little 
more than the average pilgrim, can 
still look home truth right in the kisser 
and say, 'No thanks, artificial reality for 
me, please.' I don't know what to do 
about that, Evie. Even with the Sense, 
I just don't know what to do about it," 
I heard her clear her throat. "Why 
don't you just shut up?" 

She took a real chance dumping me at 
Intourist, She could have just left me on 
the street for the authorities to pick up — 
probably nothing would have hap- 
pened, I wasn't refusenik, after all— 
and the fact that she got me indoors be- 
fore she disappeared indicated a 
sweet generosity of spirit within that fool- 
ish chatterbox exterior. I liked her ret- 
roactively, for all the good that would 
do her. 

I got a plane out the next morning- 
all I had to do was find an Aeroflot tick- 
et agent with a xenophobic bent and 
give a little push. The genie of the bot- 
tle grants your wish and leaves your 
country. 

The layover in London was sup- 
posed to be just a few hours, but 
Gatwick shut down indefinitely with a 
bomb scare — bomb scares were com- 
ing more frequently as December 31 
approached— so I took the train into 
London, figuring I might as well be 
comfortable. Besides, I'd never seen 
London. 

Forgot my own home truth; One 
place is pretty much like another. 
There was nothing for me to do in Lon- 
don either but drink. But London really 
understands the drinking organism the 
way Moscow was trying to. The pubs 
were warm and mellow. Guinness was 
even better on the Sense than Stoli had 
been, and I almost didn't care when 
Gatwick stayed shut another day and 
another, and Heathrow with it. 

I didn't call home. They'd all know by 
now, anyway. I would only be telling 
[hem the details, and those could wait. 
Those could wait and I could drink, 
and like anyone in artificial reality, I 
lost track of the time, which was how I 
came to be in London on Christmas 
Eve, looking down a week to the (artifi- 
cial) dawn of the (artificial) new millen- 
nium. Feeling the Lack and filling it 
with Guinness. 
Travel was impossible now. There 



were riots every day, and not just in Lon- 
don. The Messiah was coming, they 
said; the Messiah was coming. 

Then the transmission from Russia be- 
gan. But I didn't bother trying to tell any- 
one that it wasn't really the Messiah. 
Just Johnny. 

Happy-hood parlors all over London 
filled up, left the pubs empty (more for 
me, I thought, wavering at times be- 
tween bitters and Guinness). Central- 
ized transmission. No variety, but the 
quality ... oh, the quality. Lost nothing 
bouncing off a satellite, not with John- 
ny on the job. Johnny on the spot, all 
the spots. The (artificial) dawn of the (ar- 
tificial) new millennium. What everyone 
wanted all along, I guess. 

And as to what Johnny wanted , , . 
not to be chained, to be free. He got 
both, thanks to the Sense, in any reali- 
ty he chooses. 

The Sense is a funny thing, and it 
can even be a good thing. I worked it 
pretty hard on him. but as I told Evie 
Gray, nobody's perfect. We'll get what 
we wanted, too, me and the rest of the 
group back in the Stales, when the trans- 
missions to America begin, when 
poor, sweet, mad Johnny finally 
comes home. DO 



Pat 


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CONTINUED FROM Pi 



ties are, I wouldn't predict. 
Omni: Can the West rescue the Soviet 
Union? 

Sachs: I have a sinking feeling it may 
be too late. No one can be sure there's 
a way out of what is fast becoming an 
extraordinarily grim situation, with a mas- 
sive purge of liberals who took power 
in the last few years. But I disagree 
with those that say the Soviet Union is 
too vast to allow meaningful assistance 
from the West. My gut instinct is that 
even a modest contribution could be de- 
cisive in turning back the recent swing 
to the right. 

In Poland, financial support had a gal- 
vanizing effect. When it was supported 
by a billion-dollar stabilization fund, 
from the West, Poland moved overnight 
to make the zloty convertible [to dollars 
on the open market]. I was shocked at 
how unbelievably hard it was to raise 
that billion dollars for the first post- 
Communist government in the world of- 
fering to make radical market reforms. 
The day they got this one billion I 
came back to my hotel room in Warsaw 
and watched CNN report that an LBO 
[leveraged buyout] had just raised 
three billion dollars. Yet getting one 



billion was an awesome task! At one 
point Washington had called saying it 
was in trouble. One key Polish poli- 
cymaker just folded up his bag and 
walked out, saying it's hopeless. They 
wouldn't have gone ahead without 
the money. 

And yet Poland ended up never us- 
ing a penny of it. They accumulated a 
four-billion-dollar surplus, not a billion- 
dollar deficit. But the money still gave 
a lot of confidence. 
Omni: Didn't Gorbachev ask for aid? 
Sachs: Last year Gorbachev was 
about to allow private property and in- 
troduce a program of radical reform. He 
appealed to Chancellor Kohl and Pres- 
ident Mitterrand for financial assistance. 
Kohl brought the appeal to the Hous- 
ton summit last summer. But as far as 
I know the United States never analyzed 
the proposal properly. There was a pro- 
found misunderstanding about what 
was going on in the Soviet Union; peo- 
ple couldn't hear the debate going on. 
A brilliant Soviet economist came to 
Washington to explain that the train was 
leaving the station, that the reformers 
might be left behind. He found no reso- 
nance, no understanding, not even a 
piedge of moral support. The United 
States was asleep at the switch. It was 
mind-boggling to both of us. 
- He went home and within days Gor- 



bachev abandoned the radical program 
of reforms. By underestimating the fore- 
boding in the Soviet Union about what 
the future held, and the intensity of the 
search for a way out, we missed an his- 
loric opportunity. Now the Soviet Union 
is collapsing economically at a remark- 
able rate. They are in a profound bal- 
ance of payments crisis, and industrial 
production is plummeting. Unrest is al- 
most certain, despite the crackdown un- 
der way. There is no way they can 
hold the pieces together. But I am an 
optimist: As the collapse ensues, anoth- 
er chance for the West to steer events 
in a way beneficial for the USSR and 
the States may arise. And I hope we'll 
be ready this time with help. The mon- 
ey can be conditional: It will not be to 
preserve a decrepit regime but large- 
scale financing for a coherent program 
of reform, based on introducing private 
properly rights. 
Omni: How much is needed? 
Sachs: Perhaps thirty billion a year 
from the entire industrial world for four 
to five years, with six billion from the 
United Slates. Compared with our an- 
nual NATO expenditure of one hundred 
and sixty billion dollars, it's well justified. 
For this we can hope to achieve radi- 
cal reform, the end of Communist cen- 
tralization, and a peaceful transition to 
a democratic market system. 




Omni: What is the future of Poland, 
then? 

Sachs: If you are in the middle of Eu- 
rope and you do things even approx- 
imately right, and your borders are open 
to trade, people, ideas, and capital 
goods, then you will live like the rest of 
the Europeans. Poland was cut off 
from Europe for forty-five years. The 
idea is not simply to change the sys- 
tem but to rejoin the mainstream like 
Spain after Franco. In the short term, 
there are huge problems. Coming out 
of Communism is not easy. In the end 
Poland will become firmly part of the 
European economic space. Things are 
on track. 

Omni: Aren't Poles lacking in vital 
skills and education? 
Sachs: They don't have the formal train- 
ing in how to operate a market econ- 
omy. There's a shortage of bankers, fi- 
nance specialists, stockbrokers, account- 
ants. But those people, who are an im- 
portant part of the infrastructure, are 
flooding in because of opportunities to 
make money right now. Investment bank- 
ers and business schools are both open- 
ing up in Poland. 

Polish workers make about ninety 
cents per hour. Ironically that's one rea- 
son for optimism: In a few years they'll 
be making three dollars an hour. With 
Berlin just fifty miles from the border, 
you're in the very heart of Europe. Po- 



land is more centrally located than 
Spain, and Spain's been booming 
right along. What Poland lacks is the le- 
gal infrastructure, a good telephone or 
road system, and some local talent and 
political stability to put the pieces togeth- 
er. But everything can be found. 
Omni: Would change be easier under 
a dictatorial system? 
Sachs: Democracy helps economic re- 
form. In crisis, democratic governments 
can mobilize public support. The legit- 
imacy of winning an election lets you go 
to the people, ask for patience and un- 
derstanding, and carry out policies 
that otherwise would have to be done 
down the gun barrel; and not done effec- 
tively as a consequence. 
Omni: So Gorbachev's new repression 
will result in harder economic times 
than ever in Russia? 
Sachs: It's a disaster. The essence of 
market reform is to free up the human 
spirit and economic initiative. The arbi- 
trariness of state power is dead 
wrong. There's a good chance the So- 
viet Union will spiral out of control. 
Omni: Have they asked you for your 
opinion? 

Sachs: Recently I was a guest of the 
Russian parliament, and I told them in 
no uncertain terms that socialism was 
a dead end and that half steps toward 
a. market economy with a socialist ori- 
entation were an impossibility that 




could never produce a stable outcome. 
They had to go fully into a market econ- 
omy with private ownership. I think the 
arguments made sense to them. They 
are, after all, living in this chaos. 
Omni: Why do you believe in speed? 
Sachs: Because you are moving from 
one internally consistent system to an- 
other in moving from Communism to cap- 
italism. Gradualism doesn't make 
sense. It's as if the British decided to 
shift from driving on the left to the right 
side of the road, and the more cautious 
said, Why don't we do it gradually? Let's 
move the trucks to the other side first! 
The socialist system is internally consist- 
ent. That's why it worked for a long 
time. It Is so inferior to the capitalist 
world in what it can produce. But if you 
make it inconsistent, it stops working al- 
together. Every time you try to mix the 
two, it leads to an explosion. Market so- 
cialism is a deeply destabilized system. 
You're free to operate with the state's 
property, but you have no real respon- 
sibility for it. 

The few remaining British state enter- 
prises all have a board of directors sup- 
posed to operate the firm on a market 
basis. In Eastern Europe, when the par- 
ty was taken away, no one governed 
the enterprise. Either the manager was 
lett on his own, and in many cases just 
stole the property in clever or crude 
ways, or the so-called workers' council 
was the governing body and voted in 
the manager. _ 

Do you think he ran for election on 
the platform oi cutting employment to 
two thirds to make it an efficient en- 
terprise? On the contrary, every time 
state coercive power was removed, wag- 
es started running out of sight. 

The budget went into huge deficit. Spt- 
raling monetary instability resulted, 
creating the present shortages and 
inflationary crisis in the Soviet Union. Sim- 
ilar crises occurred in Poland, Yugosla- 
via, and Hungary, 

Omni: Capitalism without capitalists! 
Sachs: Exactly. In a normal Western 
firm there's a capitalist who negotiates 
with workers. 

In Russia there's no capitalist; no one 
watches the capital. If property is 
owned by everybody, it is owned by no- 
body. Once managers were left on 
their own, they quickly ligured out. Hey, 
I can open a private business; I can 
lease my little business at a very low 
price. I'll take all the state enterprise prof- 
its out through this dummy corporation 
of mine, and the state enterprise will re- 
main a loss-making shell that will fall to 
the budget. 

The only logical method of reform in 
Eastern Europe and the USSR is to try 
to integrate these economies into an ex- 
isting system as rapidly as possible. For 
Poland that means emulating the capital- 
ism existing in the EEC [European Eco- 
nomic Community]. The EEC has sev- 




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en nousand cedes -industrial and le- 
gal standards and so forth. Poland is 
in a systematic process of adopting all 
these codes in every area of economic 
life. They are not trying to invent a 
new system. 

It is not a Utopian revolution. Poland's 
is a revolution of no experiments. They 
are saying, We are done with experi- 
ments. That is pragmatic and un- 
imaginative, but moraf. It is not asking 
society to be guinea pigs for another 
generation. 

Omni: Is weakness in education under- 
mining America's future? 
Sachs: Much recent research docu- 
ments that education, or "investment in 
human capital" as it's called, is funda- 
mental to economic growth. It has not 
been accumulating as fast as it could 
in the United States. Economists have 
a mathematical model of why some 
countries are growing faster than oth- 
ers. And the level of education shows 
up as an enormously strong variable in 
predicting performance. 
Omni: Okay. How else might the United 
States be able to improve its econom- 
ic performance? 

Sachs: The basic fact of United States 
economic development in the last twen- 
ty years is that it was not future orient- 
ed enough. In physical capital formation 
we. have been overtaken by Japan, a 
country with half our population. 

They're investing more than we are. 
Their saving rates are far higher. Their 
preuniversiiy ecu-cation systems are far 
more rigorous and have higher attain- 
ment. So I'm quite sympathetic to the 
argument that this binge of the last ten 
years should end. 
Omni: What happened? 
Sachs: U.S. growth slowed, and rather 
than save more to spur further growth, 
we saved less to keep up our living 
standards. This was enormously short- 
sighted. Our savings have been so low 
that whatever investing we've done has 
been to a significant extent financed 
from abroad. So we have the increas- 
ing foreign ownership of American 
enterprise. 

Omni: If these guys are nice enough to 
lend us money to run our businesses 
and send us cheap VCRs, why 
shouldn't we be happy? 
Sachs: If they give us money, they al- 
so take back the profits. Generally, if 
you borrow money, you have to repay 
it at some point. So we've built up a 
debt that is enormous in absolute 
terms. But it's still not enormous rela- 
tive to the size of our economy. We're 
not over the edge yet. We're not a Bra- 
zil or a Mexico, We're not insolvent as 
is Argentina. 

We haven't gone bankrupt by borrow- 
ing from abroad, but we've borrowed a 
lot. The number is estimated at half a 
trillion dollars in net debt to the rest of 
the world. And growing. 



r 



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Omni: That's a twelfth of the national in- 
come. Is that a problem? 
Sachs: A problem, but not yet a catas- 
trophe. That the government has bor- 
rowed a lot has weakened our capacity 
to adjust and thereby compromised our 
future performance. We have been la- 
zy. We have neglected important invest- 
ments. Anyone who drives over a 
bridge or on the highways knows we 
have not kept up our basic material 
infrastructure, much less research and 
development. 

Is it the cataclysm that some have 
claimed? By no means. It does mean 
we will live less well in the future than 
we might have had we timed this bet- 
ter. We enjoyed this past decade, con- 
sumed more than we responsibly 
should have. So the capital we leave for 
this and the next generation is less. Our 
children are less prepared for the task 
of the future. The scientific community 
has not been as well supported as we 
could have afforded. It all comes 
down to the same thing: If you don't 
save for the future, you get caught out 
in the future. 

Omni: How will we get our comeup- 
pance? 

Sachs: We'll have to squeeze our living 
standards to pay back the foreigners. 
The larger the debt grows, the more 
we'll have to raise taxes to service that 



debt Or tax the public in a hidden way 
through increased inflation, as happens 
when governments run up debts so 
large they cannot be covered by taxa- 
tion. Taxes distort all sorts of behavior. 
People don't work as hard if they have 
to pay higher taxes, or they reallocate 
resources from things they ought to be 
doing to other things because the first 
activity has. a tax cost. Taxes discour- 
age economic activities of 'all sorts. 
Omni: It's like a consumer borrowing a 
lot on credit cards and thinking it's 
great and then suddenly realizing it's eat- 
ing away at his life month by month, 
Sachs: Exactly. We will bear the costs 
from having overconsumed in the past. 
Omni: Will the debt lead to hyperinfla- 
tion in the U.S.? 

Sachs: It could, but I doubt that it will. 
Hyperinflation occurs when the debt bur- 
den is beyond the taxing authority of the 
government to cover. That's what hap- 
pened in Bolivia. By the time a country 
is in hyperinflation, many terrible 
things have happened to its tax and 
spending systems. 

To end it, you need many changes. 
but the essence is to get the fiscal sys- 
tem back under control so that the gov- 
enrment pays its bills without printing 
money. You have to cut spending, 
raise tax revenues, and generally rene- 
gotiate the terms of this accumulated 



debt to try to get it reduced to a level 
that's sustainable. 

Omni: Won't cutting the debt burden of 
the poor countries', as you advise, ruin 
the U.S. banks and whoever else lent 
them money? 

Sachs: In general these debts aren't col- 
lectable. I say it's better to recognize it 
legally and make the settlement, rather 
than pretend it isn't true and keep it on 
the books. 

Omni: Walter Wriston's reaction was to 
brand you a "paid flack for the under- 
developed countries." Why does some- 
thing totally realistic incense him so? 
Sachs: As chairman of Citibank, Wris- 
ton took a lot of his shareholders' mon- 
ey and put it into Latin America. And 
he ended up losing a great deal of it. 
He took one of the world's leading 
banks, but as a result of his lending poli- 
cies it is now a greatly weakened institu- 
tion. He called me a flack for pointing 
out that these were very bad decisions 
that now have to show up in the books. 
I have often pointed out to Mr. Wriston 
that I don't take money from these coun- 
tries; I am an adviser paid by the UN. 
I am' only saying that if you have so 
much debt it can't be serviced, there 
are enormous advantages in making 
that legally plain through a debt write- 
off. Domestically, that's why we have 
bankruptcy laws. But internationally, we 



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lack the institutions that could bring 
about this kind of debt reduction. So I 
was appealing to the IMF and major 
governments to play the role of bank- 
ruptcy judge and make formal settle- 
ments of debts to reduce them to man- 
ageable levels. 

Omni: Would these countries ever get 
a loan again? 

Sachs; Certainly not as long as the old 
debt is still sitting on the books. When 
you have an overhang of bad debt, 
no creditor will lend you money, be- 
cause he knows it'll just be used to pay 
the other guys. So debt cancellation 
should raise the chance of getting 
new loans. 

Omni: Don't the poor suffer under 
such management from the IMF? 
Sachs: Actually, a lot of what happens 
in hyperinflation is really a ripoif by the 
rich. Who really benefits from the cha- 
os? The powerful make extraordinary 
gains, totally unrecognized, at the ex- 
pense of the poor. Letting the chaos go 
on to avoid being cruel to the poor is a 
cynical view pushed by the elites who 
are stuffing their pockets. There has to 
be a social safety net. 
Omni: Why do you feel so passionate- 
ly about what you do? ■ 
Sachs: Helping countries get out of cri- 
sis is not only a technical and intellec- 
tual challenge, but a mora! one. I have 
confidence in the basic wisdom of the 
approach I've pursued — a mix of stan- 
dard economic remedies, plus advoca- 
cy of debt relief. It's an extremely import- 
ant moment for Latin America and East- 
ern Europe. The crises are grave and 
the opportunities very high. 
Omni: How does your approach differ 
from other economists'? 
Sachs: 1 try to be astride research and 
practical policy involvement, because 
each reinforces the other, I must be 
versed in history, political and social anal- 
ysis, as well as technical economic analy- 
sis. I don't begrudge others their in- 
tensive work within the discipline, be- 
cause I'm a consumer of the output of 
the pure theorists. But to be effective 
one needs to view economics as an en- 
compassing social science, rather 
than a subdiscipline with social science. 
Omni: Do you think economics has pre- 
dictive powers, if not upset by politics? 
Sachs: I'd be the first to say that eco- 
nomics rarely lives up to its mathemati- 
cal pretensions. 

Obviously it doesn't have anything of 
the predictive powers of many natural 
sciences. But a proper study of econom- 
ics gives a very satisfactory and organ- 
ized way of thinking about pressing is- 
sues. Economics is typically not well un- 
derstood outside of the profession. Yet 
what is known is enormously useful. 
That gives one a vast advantage over 
non-economists. 

In other words, there is a reason 
for it. DO 



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video BAfines 

GOOSED BY MOTHER: 

Grab a mouse to save a lemming, and learn from 

the old lady who lived in a shoe 




No matter what ap- 
pears in the next six 
months, one video 
game will rank as the 
most original entertain- 
ment concept of 1991. 
The setup; You dictate 
the moves of an ambi- 
tious group of hyperac- 
tive conformists who 
look alike and act alike 
and will blindly follow 
' one another to their mu- 
tual destruction. No, 
this isn't Wall Street 
Yuppies: The Simula- 
tion. It's Lemmings 
(Amiga,. Atari ST, and 
IBM-PC compatibles). 

Lemmings are among nature's most neurotic creations. 
When faced with the stress of overpopulation, these ex- 
traordinary creatures commit mass- suicide by chas ng one 
another into the'" sea. In Lemmings, however, the aim is 
to save the rodents from themselves by tL.- ling individu- 
al lemmings into diggers and br age builders and para- 
chutist's in order to traverse obstacles from the -'entrance 
to the exit of 120 different puzzle screens. Diggers, for 
example, will open cave's that keep lemmings from plung-' 
■il; over cirs Builders will construct bridges thai lii lem- 
mings out of unscalable pits. 

Don't mis^e LS!r; r n:ngs Uy a casual a ; ;ernaon at the 
petting zoo. These fuzzballs swarm the- landscape like 
New Yorkers at rush hour. It takes a brisk mind to rapidly 
carry out.a solution and a sober face to resist, laughing 
at the cartoonish activity of these animated crowds. 

It's'the Visual charm, as well as -the head-thumping chal- 
lenge, that makes Lemmings so appealing. Kibitzing sa- 
dists may enjoy Lemmings as a bizarre electronic Aht 
Farm. They'll s;t on the sidelines with hands-off g:ee anc; 
watch while these fuzzy little devils goose-step to their 
doom. With save-the- rodent compassion, however,- respon- 
sible, hands-on players will grab a mouse {the computer 
kind) and discover the combination of lemming skills' that 
will get these manic-depressive rodents- to safety. ■ 

Lemmings ranks as a time-sensitive puzzle game thai 
pours on the. action without requiring split-second joy- 
stick skills. Although the -game is intellectually paced lor 
adults, it has enough visual sizzle to wriggle into favor 
with young players: 



KID STUFF 



The cartoonish charm 
of Lemmings raises a 
question asked by all 
well-meaning parents 
in the age of. inter- 
-active entertainment: 
How doyou find a com- 
puter, .game for the 
youngsters that isn't 
like enrolling them 
in Saddam Hussein 
training camp? Guns, 
bombs', knives, fists, 
destruction, waste, 
and war are the stuff 
of most computer 
games. It takes only 
20 minutes of game time combined with a postplay can- 
dy bar to tj-'i- an oveisdmulated !<id i-lc a one-cnld 
Republican Guard platoon, 

■ If you want to feel good about placing your child in 
Iront o" the computer, try Sierra On-Line's heartwarming 
Mixed-Lip Mothe: Goose (Atari ST, Apple II, Apple llgs, 
Amiga, and IBM-PC compatibles;. Usng in-vliar ch Id- 
nocd rhymes, this adventure' game for children helps de- 
veop eariy problem-; kills. Delightful 

sintain the 
child's interest in an- innocent, -non aggressive manner. A 
parents' guide, helps Mom and Dad introduce the chic: 
to Mixed-Up Mother Goose, and the ability to save 
games for as many as 12 children makes- the game, ideal 
for classroom o- family use. 

MAY THE FQRGE BE- WITH YOU 



x different spell books : or its magic.-— Bob Lindstrorn DQ 



GAnnes 



CHECKMATE: 

It took ten years before a computer outwitted our chess champ, 

but it may be longer before one passes Go 



' / 'd 



A number of prizes have 
been offered to any comput- 
er chess program that can 
beat the reigning world ■ 
chess champion. In 1979 
Omni and chess master- 
David Levy offered $5,000 to 
any computer opponent 
that could win against Levy. 
Ten years later he finally 
admitted defeat. Now the larg- 
est outstanding cash prize, 
the Fredkin Foundation's 
$100,000, may also be 
close to being claimed. So 
far, however, computers 
can't come close to outsmart- 
ing the master-level play- 
ers of Go, leading- one com- 
puter company to confident- 
ly offer a $1 million prize- to 
any program that can win 
against a human Go master. 
After a series of attempts, 
a computer opponent final- 
ly beat Levy and claimed 
the $5,000 Omffl'-Levy prize 
in December 1989. Levy 
lost four games out of four to 
a computer program dub- 
bed Deep Thought by its de- 
signers, a team of five 
Carnegie Mellon graduate stu- 
dents. Deep Thought's 
Murray Campbell expects an 
improved version of the. pro- 
gram will be strong enough 
to win the Fredkin Foundation 
prize as early as next year. 

110 OMNI 



While chess is an ancient, 
complex game,. Go is even 
older, invented in China 
about 4,000 years ago and 
popular today throughout 
most of Asia, especially in Ja- 
pan. The game is played 
with black and white stones 
on a grid of 19 horizontal 
lines by 19 vertical lines. The 
basic rules are simple: 
Place your white or black 
stones on the intersections, 
trying to connect stones 
of the same color along the 
horizontal or vertical lines. 
The goal; Surround as many 
clusters of vacant intersec- 
tions as possible. 

Go is also more challeng- 
ing than chess, one reason 
being the enormity of possi- 
ble plays. Unlike chess, 
which has only 20 possible 
opening moves, Go has a 
possible 361. And chess 
may offer an enormous TO 120 
possible board configura- 
tions, but Go outdoes it with 
10 7S1 . In chess programs 
computers look at every pos- 
sible chess move and 
calculate the advantages of 
each; the same approach 
with Go gets bogged down 
by sheer numbers. The 
best programs try to merely 
mirror the way humans' 
play, assessing the entire 




board situation and se!e-c!n:i 
a strategy. It's not easy 
to determine the best move. 
it's ho help looking ahead 
ten moves into- the' game, if 

i can't tell who's ahead 
at the end of those ten 
moves. A short-term victory 
may lead to long-term loss. 

Curiously, a traditonal Go 
et also possesses subtle 
optical illusions. Although it's 
a 19-by-19grid, the board 
isn't square; officially, it's 
42.42 centimeters by 45.45 
centimeters. The assymetry 
compensates for a per- 
speciive illusion: Viewed from 
an oblique angle, a true- 
square looks longer left-to- 
right than top-to- bottom. 
So the Go board was de- 
signed to look square. 

The. stones also compen- 
sate for illusion. Black 
objects always look smaller 
than white ones. So Go's 
black stones are 2.18 centi- 
meters in diameter, while 
the white ones are only 2:12 
centimeters in diameter, 

Aesthetically pleasing, Go 
uses simple elements: wood 
and stone, circle and line, 
black and white — and a 
game board that becomes 
an evolving, often strikingly 
beautiful mosaic. A well- 
played move has a visual 



rightness to it, A novice, in 
fact, often makes a pow- 
erful move with no deeper 
planning than mentally 
picturing the way it looks. In 
Japan teachers introduce 
Go to children in elementary 
school, and the. military 
uses it to teach strategic think- 
ing. In a speech telling 
American businessmen how 
to compete with the Japa- 
nese-, Nikko Hotels President 
Yasuyuki. Miura recom- 
mended the Americans learn 
to play Go. ""While chess 
is a game of war, Go is a 
game of market share," he 
said. "It involves not im- 
mediate profitability but long- 
term influence." 

According to Bruce 
Wilcox, one of the West's top 
Go players, "Americans 
tend to reveal a basic char- 
acter flaw when they play 
Go. Typically, once they 
take over territories, they 
don't want to then give them 
up. the Japanese, how- 
ever, will give up territories in 
exchange for something 
else. American are locked in- 
to personal possessions." 

Wilcox's Go computer pro- 
gram Nemesis (Macintosh,-. 
IBM-PC compatibles) is avail- 
able from Toyogo. Box 
25460, Honolulu, HI 96825. 
Fidelity Electronics also 
offers a hand-held version of 
Nemesis; for information 
call (800) 634-4692. For more 
information on the $1 million 
Go prize contact Michael 
McGuire, Acer America, 401 
Charcot, San Jose, CA 
95131. Ishi Press publishes 
books on Go, and a variety 
of Go. boards. Contact: Ishi 
Press International, 75 Bona- 
ventura Drive, San Jose, 
CA 95134.— Scot Morris DO 



LASTUUORD 



PENNIES FROM HELL: 

Money can't buy happiness, but it'can make a large 

down payment for treatment of "moolah madness" 




Studying the impact of money on 
the human psyche, psychon- 
omists have been working hard to 
test several age-old assumptions. 
Some of the more notable and con- 
troversial findings reveal that a 
fool and his money are actually 
parted rather slowly, and that a 
penny saved is usually about 
S300 earned by Sears when it 
wrecks the washing machine. 

A recent edition of The Psychon- 
omy Journal contains excerpts 
from a report titled "Winning the 
Lottery is the Worst Thing That 
Can Ever Happen to You." The re- 
port provides compelling evi- 
dence that money not only can't 
buy happiness, but in large 
enough infusions can cause se- 
vere mental impairment and even 
death. Not because of shifts in the 
winner's values, but because a 
monetary overdose can produce 
symptoms similar to those exhib- 
ited by an autistic savant: a dimin- 
ished sense of reality and total 
lack of comprehension regarding 
such basic concepts as money. 

Scientists at the Center for Psy- 
chiatric and Economic Fusion in 
Palo Alto, California, have blend- 
ed their research findings with a 
landmark-case study. It's the tale 
of Bud Fishman, whose large wind- 
fall propelled him to an untimely 
demise. 



At forty-one years old Bud was 
a quiet, unassuming computer 
technician earning $45,000 a 
year in 1 985— the year he won $2 
million in the "Golden Cracker" 
Georgia State Lottery. 

After telling the local media 
that he wouldn't change his life- 
style "one micron," he proceeded 
to buy a new Cape Cod-style 
house, a fire-red Corvette, and a 
ten-screen multimedia computer 
entertainment system. Within two 
weeks he received 23 pre-ap- 
proved credit card applications (a 
total credit limit of $210,000 at 21 
percent interest), all of which he 
signed and returned. 

Over the Christmas holidays 
Bud went into a spending frenzy, 
acquiring such items as the King 
Tut-size waterbed at HjO Beds 
"FT Us. The crowning glory of his 
money mania was a whale- 
shaped, in-ground swimming 
pool, which he purchased by go- 
ing to the limit on nine of his new 
credit cards. 

He even bought 12 rounds for 
the house at Ken Kato's High 
Tech Tavern on New Year's Eve. 
Bud was then suffering from 
what the Palo Alto scientists 
have dubbed Post Cash Syn- 
drome (PCS), which is also 
known as "moolah madness." 

He hadn't recognized how dif- 
ferently he was behaving until he 
returned to work the following Mon- 
day to find his personal effects 
neatly boxed in a corner of his of- 
fice'. From the hallway his boss 
barked, "Apparently you don't 
need us anymore, Bud. Certainly 
not after what you said at Ken Ka- 
to's High Tech Tavern on New 
Year's Eve." 

After a bout of what the Center 
for Psychiatric and Economic Fu- 
sion scientists call "pecuniary pan- 
ic," Bud swallowed his pride and 
■ took a job at the Burger Buffet as 
the evening fry cook. Bud's unvar- 
ied diet of fries caused his choles- 
terol level to skyrocket. One day 
his heart just gave out, and he in- 



jured his spine falling across the 
buffet table. Bud was admitted to 
St. Bernard Hospital for angina 
pectoris, a fractufed vertebra, 
and unsightly acne. 

Returning home, he found his 
first lottery check. He ripped open 
the envelope and extracted a 
check for $70,000. Roughly cal- 
culating his new cash flow situa- 
tion, Bud suffered a severe anxi- 
ety attack. 

In the ambulance on his way to 
St. Bernard, it finally sunk in: His 
$2 million would be delivered in 
20 annual payments, less incred- 
ible taxes. He went into what psy- 
chonomists call "fiscal funk." 

In the summer of 1987 Bud ig- 
nored the warnings of his cardi- 
ologist (he had developed a 
stress-induced heart condition 
from the constant drone of credi- 
tors calling around the clock), and 
began looking for work again in 
the computer field. Everywhere he 
went the reaction was the same: 
"Look, Bud, you haven't worked 
in more than two years; yo.u have 
a heart condition, and you have 
a lot of nerve coming to me for a 
job after what you said to me at 
Ken Kato's High Tech Tavern on 
New Year's Eve." 

Three years of therapy, antide- 
pressant drugs, and the decreas- 
ing value of his lottery checks 
against 1985 dollars provoked 
Bud to make his final move. After 
dragging himself to the top of his 
Cape Cod house, he vaulted into 
the blowhole of his empty whale- 
shaped pool and died. His remain- 
ing checks are being used to pay 
off all of the credit card compa- 
nies and St. Bernard Hospital 
(which has almost completed its 
psychonometric wing). 

What can be learned from all 
this? Psychonomists say that it is 
a rare person who can survive win- 
ning big money. They are now lob- 
bying to add a warning to lottery 
tickets that reads accepting the 
PROCEEDS FROM THIS WAGER CAN BE 
HARMFUL OR FATAL. DO